Italian state lender approves sale of export agency SACE to Treasury – sources

ROME, March 5 (Reuters) – Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on Friday approved a preliminary deal to sell the export agency SACE to the Treasury, a deal that will add € 4.25 billion ($ 5.07 billion) to the country’s public debt, sources told Reuters.

SACE offers guarantees and financial support to Italian exporters. She also works alongside banks to facilitate business access to credit, a role that has grown since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy a year ago.

The Treasury wants to directly control the export agency given its importance in supporting the economy.

Rome helps SACE as a co-insurer, partly sharing its exposures to risks that could potentially harm public finances over time.

SACE could also participate in plans to privatize the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank.

Under a program sponsored by the Treasury, SACE and other private actors would protect the potential buyer of MPS from some of the 10 billion euros in legal risks the bank faces after decades of bad debt. management.

The CDP board of directors approved the deal early Friday, clearing the way for the Treasury to draft an executive order finalizing the acquisition, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The lending State will transfer SACE to the Treasury in return for 4.25 billion euros in sovereign bonds still to be issued. CDP’s liabilities do not count as public debt even though the Treasury controls it at 83%.

Rome’s debt of 2,600 billion euros, or 155.6% of national production, is one of the largest in the world.

The deal reverses the divestment made during the 2012 sovereign debt crisis by the technocratic government of Mario Monti, which sold SACE to CDP for around € 6 billion.

As part of the transaction, CDP will buy SACE’s 76% stake in the service provider SIMEST, partially owned by a group of Italian banks, for around 230 million euros. ($ 1 = 0.8386 euro) (Report by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome Editing by Gavin Jones and Matthew Lewis)