Italian public properties auctioned off for 20 mln USD

Dozens of historic state-owned properties were sold off earlier this month for 18.3 million euros (20.3 million U.S. dollars), the Italian Public Property Agency announced on Monday.

The auction took place online on Oct. 16-17, involving 18 properties out of total 50 under hammer, according to the agency.

Some of the assets were sold through an open ascending price auction, with participants bidding openly against each other.

For the assets sold, this mechanism allowed an increase of 16 percent in value (equal to some 2.4 million euros) compared to the auction basis, the agency specified in a statement.

The sale included a heterogeneous portfolio, including residential, commercial, and historic buildings, former barracks, and lands.

The properties were part of a list of 420 assets the Ministry of Economy and Finance decided to put under hammer in June, to help relieve the country’s public debt.

In its latest estimates published in October, the Bank of Italy put the debt at 2.3 trillion euros (134.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2018), the second largest in the European Union after that of Greece.

The sale procedure would also aim at giving some of these properties a better future, since several of the buildings involved were in a dilapidated state, and might be returned to their original beauty with the help of private funds and through commercial or touristic initiatives.