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Australia's NSW state to sell or lease electricity network for $16 bln
December 17, 2014 / 11:37 PM / 3 years ago

Australia's NSW state to sell or lease electricity network for $16 bln

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Australia’s New South Wales state said it plans to raise A$20 billion ($16.24 billion) by leasing or selling 49 percent of its electricity network, enabling it to pay for a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing and several road upgrades.

The network’s partial sale would be among the biggest privatisations of an Australian state-owned asset on record.

State Treasurer Andrew Constance said the plan, to proceed if the government is re-elected in a ballot scheduled for March, would create more than 100,000 jobs and boost the economy by almost A$300 billion over the next two decades.

The government of Australia’s most populous state hired investment banks UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG to do a scoping study into how to sell its “poles and wires” business.

That study recommended the sale as it was “likely to attract a broad range of domestic and international investors”, Constance said in a statement.

The deal had been widely expected to fetch about A$20 billion but Constance confirmed this figure for the first time on Thursday.

Australian governments have earmarked some A$130 billion of mature infrastructure assets to sell to pay for much-needed capital works in the next two years, as they struggle to attract revenue following the end of a mining investment boom.

$1 = 1.2315 Australian dollars Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates

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