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Portugal says set to privatise last third of post service

The Portuguese government is to sell its remaining one-third stake in the nearly 500-year-old postal service, under conditions laid down under international bailout terms, it said.

LISBON: The Portuguese government is to sell its remaining one-third stake in the nearly 500-year-old postal service, under conditions laid down under international bailout terms, it said on Thursday.

The government will sell its holding of 31.5 per cent in the business which it floated successfully on the stock exchange in December.

The post service was one of several companies which Portugal agreed to privatise under a bailout programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) in 2011, from which it emerged in May this year.

Junior Finance Minister Manuel Rodrigues said after a cabinet meeting that the privatisation of the postal service had been a success and had given a boost to the stock market.

The sale of the rest of the state's holding would be achieved either via a syndicate of banks or by direct placement with institutional investors, he said.

The date of the sales would depend on the way the stock market evolved.

The flotation of the postal service CTT was the first on the Lisbon stock market since the listing in June 2008, just before the financial crisis occurred, of EDP Renovaveis, the wind energy subsidiary of electricity group EDP.

The privatisation of 70 per cent of the post service raised 579 million euros (US$788 million) for the state. During the operation, the Treasury bought some shares, raising its interest to 31.5 per cent.

The sale followed the privatisation in October of the British postal service, Royal Mail.

Before floating the postal service, the Portuguese government had sold stakes in energy groups EDP and REN, and in airport management company ANA.

Those sales raised 6.4 billion euros for the public finances, exceeding the initial target for the entire privatisation programme which the IMF and EU had set at 5.5 billion euros.

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