Air NZ sale also in doubt
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 6:08p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
The partial privatisation of Solid Energy looks unlikely this term and may be off indefinitely after the Government admitted today it was in no shape to be sold.
There are also fresh doubts about the sale of Air New Zealand.
Solid Energy had hoped to have revenues of $1.2 billion dollars this year, but world coal prices have slumped, as have Solid Energy's profit predictions.
Now the Government concedes it may not partially privatise the state company this term.
“We would only take these companies to market if they were good shape for investment and Solid Energy right now isn't,” says Finance Minister Bill English. “They have substantial issues."
Sources have told 3 News the sale of Solid Energy has officially been put on hold.
The minister in charge of mining issues wouldn't address that.
“You need to ask the minister,” says Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley. "He has the most up-to-date information."
But Bill English was more revealing, saying “we wouldn't be planning to float it any time soon”.
Solid Energy was always going to be one of the last sales. But with just two years to sell three power companies, Solid Energy is all but off the block.
“No, I'm not sure it will go ahead this term,” says Prime Minister John Key. “It's always been likely to be one of the last cabs off the rank."
A 49 percent sale of Solid Energy would realise anything between $827 million and $1.36 billion – money the Government has already banked.
But with the sale now unlikely, the Government can't rely on a cent.
“This is the wrong time,” says Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove. “You have a global financial meltdown, you have Treaty claims court action now. This John Key has stuffed it up from start to finish.”
Government sources have told 3 News that the sale of Air NZ is also doubtful this term because of its low share price.
The asset sales were always going to be difficult, but the road blocks just keep on coming and this is now a serious setback to the Government's asset sales programme.
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22/08/2012 3:04:17 p.m.
Those against sales may have also found a stronger way to say it: http://www.facebook.com/BoycottMercuryEnergy
Given most Kiwis are against the sales, the bulk of their customer base might be open to considering a move.
22/08/2012 11:52:51 a.m.
NZders have a right and need to question the govts citeria and actions. NZders are entitled to that 'right' because the govt should be working for NZders not their own interests. Isn't that what democracy is all about???
When politicans are not transparent and are trying to fast track certain issues...NZders have to take note and question it. Come on NZders, don't take it for granted that these politicians have NZders interests at heart.
21/08/2012 10:13:59 p.m.
Wonder if anybody smells a rat. Did the asset sales not go through fast enough for National and their mates liking, as the books showed long ago that they were not healthy so why not sell off assets and get a huge, much needed cash boost. Sorry National, but some people can see through deceit and cuuning.
21/08/2012 10:12:54 p.m.
This government couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery.
21/08/2012 9:34:57 p.m.
The government needs to get rid of most of its SOEs, partially to raise cash and also because state ownership of enterprises often equates to inefficiency.
21/08/2012 9:06:13 p.m.
Yet they've already booked the proceeds from these sales in their future balance sheet. In the private sector not only would they have been fired, they would be up on charges for such *creative* accounting.
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