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Gov’t, RAI strategize to avert bankruptcy

ROME — Italy’s government and state broadcaster RAI have agreed on measures to save the cash-strapped company from bankruptcy.

Telecommunications Minister Maurizio Pagani said the plan, which would increase license fees and raise the value of RAI’s assets, would be approved by the full cabinet before the end of the year.

RAI chair Claudio Dematte had warned that RAI would go out of business if it did not get a 15% rise in license fees, the tax Italians pay when they buy a television set.

The proposal calls for a 5% rise in the fees and tax breaks on revenue from the fees. It also includes a plan to mark up the value of RAI’s assets on the balance sheet. The fee has been pegged at 148,000 lire ($ 88) a year since l987.

RAI’s management had for months been insisting on a 400 billion lire ($ 2.4 billion) recapitalization as the only way to avoid liquidation under Italian law , given that its huge losses have eaten up the corporation’s capital.

An Italian paper reported that Dematte would like to lay off 1,000 by the end of December and 1,000 more in l994.

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