19/10/2016 - 13:24

Barnett confirms Western Power IPO option

19/10/2016 - 13:24

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Premier Colin Barnett has confirmed plans for an initial public offering of Western Power are on the table, while the opposition has blamed the privatisation plans for the alleged cancellation of a contract with a major supplier.

Barnett confirms Western Power IPO option

Premier Colin Barnett has confirmed plans for an initial public offering of Western Power are on the table, while the opposition has blamed the privatisation plans for the alleged cancellation of a contract with a major supplier.

Mr Barnett told reporters this morning that the state government was considering either the full or part privatisation of Western Power, with an IPO planned.

“We haven’t made a decision but I expect we will in the next few weeks, and I would hope that both the Liberals and Nationals are aligned on that,” he said.

“There’s an opportunity to allow Australians, in this case maybe Western Power customers, and superannuation funds to also invest in the utility.

“It’s probably a better thing to be paying dividends for superannuation than simply paying interest rates to international banks. So it’s a different way of looking at financing.

Western Power, if it is privatised, will operate as it is now, as a regulated monopoly.”

It follow media reports that the state government was considering selling just over half of the utility to a mix of mum and dad investors and superannuation funds, and floating the company on the ASX, with the government to retain representation on its board.

“I have said clearly we will make a decision on Western Power, we will make that public when we have made that decision, and we will take it to the (next state) election,” Mr Barnett said.

Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls yesterday gave a strong indication that his party would support the sale of Western Power, saying that the Liberals and the Nationals were moving closer to a unified position that the sale should be used to fund new capital works.

The premier’s comments today were made at the same time that opposition leader Mark McGowan announced that ABB Australia had lost its transformer manufacturing contract with Western Power.

He said ABB, which will shut its Malaga plant as a result of the contract loss, was a direct casualty of the state government’s privatisation plans for Western Power.

“Eighty jobs lost and a major business shutting down is a major disaster for our state and it’s because the government is getting Western Power ready for privatisation,” Mr McGowan said.

“The government had direct control of this decision, and now we have lost these 80 manufacturing jobs to Western Australia.”

ABB also manufactured transformers for resources companies including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Woodside Petroleum.

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