Italy to start privatisations by year-end, Eni top priority - sources

The logo of oil company Eni-Saipem is pictured at its headquarters in Rome

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The logo of oil company Eni-Saipem is pictured at its headquarters in Rome February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian government aims by the end of the year to begin selling state-owned assets as part of a privatisation campaign, with oil and gas major Eni (MIL:ENI) top of the list, two sources told Reuters.

"We want to start soon. We want to sell some of the assets by the end of the year to show we are doing something," one source with direct knowledge of the dossier told Reuters.

"The sale of the Treasury's stake in Eni... could be done overnight, subject to markets conditions," the source said.

The government is working on a list of stakes it could dispose without losing direct or indirect control over the companies involved. Some of these stakes could be put on the block in a very short time, while others will take longer.

Italy's Treasury holds a 4.3 percent stake in Eni, according to the company's website. The stake has a value of roughly 2.8 billion euros (2.4 billion pounds) at current market prices.

The sale of this stake would be an easy way for the government to pocket money to cut Italy's public debt hovering stubbornly around 133 percent of gross domestic product.

The government is not planning to reduce its shareholdings in either Enel (MIL:ENEL) and Finmeccanica (MIL:FNC) any time soon, the source said.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Alessandra Galloni)

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