(Releads with delay to share sale)
By Francesca Landini
MILAN, Sept 8 Italy is likely to postpone until next year a planned sale of a further 30 percent stake in Poste Italiane, two sources close to the matter said on Thursday, making the country's ambitious privatisation goal for this year unattainable.
According to one of the sources, the government prefers to sell the stake after a national referendum that will take place between Nov. 15 and Dec. 4.
"This means the share sale is put back to next year," the source said.
The government privatised Poste Italiane in October last year with the initial sale of 35 percent in a stock market flotation that raised 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). In May it said it would transfer another 35 percent to state bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, leaving the remaining 30 percent to be sold.
But the future of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government probably hinges on the outcome of the referendum, which will ask Italians to accept or reject a constitutional overhaul that has been the main plank of the premier's reform push.
The government planned to pocket 8 billion euros ($9 billion) in privatisation proceeds this year to make good on a promise to cut its public debt. So far this year it has raised only 834 million euros through the direct sale of state assets.
The Treasury could pocket more than 2 billion euros from the sale of 30 percent of Poste Italiane, based on the current market price for the stock. Rome said in July the sale would take place before the end of the year.
Poste Italiane and the Treasury were not immediately available for comment.
Separately, the same sources said on Thursday Poste Italiane was looking at acquiring UniCredit's asset manager Pioneer, which could help the post office develop its financial services arm.
UniCredit is considering the sale of part or all of Pioneer and has sent documents about the company to prospective buyers, according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, which also said Poste Italiane was interested in the asset. ($1=0.8856 euros) (Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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