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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Asset sale process under way

The first step in the government's plan to sell shares in five state-owned assets has been taken.

Colin Williscroft
Wed, 25 May 2011

The first step in the government's plan to sell shares in five state-owned assets has been taken.

Following the announcement in last week's budget that the government wanted to sell minority stakes in electricity generators Meridian, Genesis and Mighty River Power, along with coal mining company Solid Energy and Air New Zealand, Treasury has advertised for a commercial adviser with project management experience to begin the process.

Tender documents posted on the Government Electronic Tender Service website specify that the adviser must have “extensive expertise in advising on sale processes of a similar nature, scale and complexity in New Zealand” and “a detailed knowledge and understanding of New Zealand capital markets and the sectors in which the companies operate.”

They will be expected to develop a sale programme to implement the extension of the government's mixed ownership model as soon as possible following the November 2011 general election, should the elected Government choose to do so.Advice provided to Treasury before the budget said it was expected that it would take between three to five years for the asset sales programme to be rolled out.

Finance Minister Bill English said selling up to 49% of the five companies would help reduce Government debt, increase investment opportunities for mum and dad investors and improve the companies’ financial performance.

“The Treasury estimates that extending the mixed ownership model to the four energy SOEs and reducing the Government’s majority shareholding in Air New Zealand are likely to free up between $5 billion and $7 billion of capital - depending on the final structure of the programme,” Mr English said.

A shortlist for the position of commercial adviser is expected by June 10, with an initial contract expiring on election day, November 26.Next month Treasury is due to advertise on the GETS website for companies to undertake scoping studies of each of the state-owned energy companies.

Colin Williscroft
Wed, 25 May 2011
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Asset sale process under way
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