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Government prepares for further post and telecom shake-up

The government says it wants to be able to sell its majority stake in the telecom group, Swisscom. Currently, Swiss law does not allow the government to reduce its stake below 50 per cent.

The government also said that it wants to create a Postbank as a means for the postal service to finance mail and deliveries.

The federal ministry for the environment, traffic and telecommunications said in a statement that the cabinet would submit legislation before the autumn on Swisscom and the postal service.

"The government should be allowed to sell its majority stake in Swisscom, even though it could be necessary to create control mechanisms for a minority stake for a determined period," the ministry said in a statement.

The government currently controls 65.5 per cent of Swisscom and the company has been lobbying for a possible further privatisation, allowing it to strike alliances when needed.

The ministry added that the postal services "should be able to finance its basic services by the creation of a Postbank, which would operate under the same market conditions as other banking institutions."

Under the changes, the sale of shares in Swiscom would allow for the recapitalisation of the postal service and the creation of a Postbank.

The ministry said the planned creation of a Postbank would require SFr one billion, with a further SFr five billion needed for the recapitalisation of the postal services' pension funds.

Swissinfo with agencies