Written Answers. - Privatisation Policy.

Wednesday, 26 May 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 505 No. 4

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  52.  Mr. Deasy  Information on Austin Deasy  Zoom on Austin Deasy   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   if he will give details of State and semi-State bodies which have been privatised; the bodies being privatised; the further State bodies being prepared for privatisation; and if he will give a timescale in each case. [13043/99]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  The State has fully disposed of its interests in Irish Life, Greencore, B&I and Irish Steel.

Comsource, which is a consortium comprising KPN and Telia, acquired 20 per cent of Telecom Éireann in 1996. It has an option to purchase a [898] further 15 per cent of the company before the end of 1999. The State has sold and transferred 13.23 per cent of Telecom Éireann to an employee share trust and it is expected that the balance of 1.67 per cent will be transferred at the end of this year when the employees have made further delivery on the change programme in the company. The Deputy will be aware that Telecom Eireann is to be floated shortly. No final decision has been taken on the quantity of shares to be offered to investors.

Later this year it is planned to sell ICC Bank by way of a trade sale and, in that context, negotiations are ongoing with employee representatives in relation to the possible establishment of an employee shareholding in the bank. ACC Bank and the Trustee Savings Bank are planning to merge. It is intended that the combined the entity will be floated, possibly in 2000, with the proceeds accruing to the Exchequer. The Government has agreed to make provision for an employee stake if arrangements can be agreed with the staff side.

The State is also seeking a purchaser for its interest in Irish fertilisers industries. An examination of the strategic options for Cóillte is being conducted and consultants have recently been appointed by the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources to assist with the evaluation of all options.

Aer Lingus recently submitted a report to the Minister for Public Enterprise in relation to a possible strategic partnership for the airline with, or without, an equity dimension. The report also emphasises that Aer Lingus needs access to equity capital markets to help fund future developments. The report is being examined by Ministers. No decision has yet been taken. Aer Lingus already has an employee shareholding of 4 per cent as part of an agreed arrangement for an overall employee holding of 5 per cent. Aer Rianta has also submitted a report to the Minister for Public Enterprise on its future strategic direction. The report, which recommends a flotation to source new capital, is being examined and no decision has yet been taken on the recommendations made by the company.


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