Aussie banks likely to handle Telstra sale

October 13, 2005

Australia will likely turn to panels of bankers to manage the government's divestiture of its $20 billion stake in telecom giant Telstra.

The Financial Times said Thursday that officials said four such panels would likely be named with the lucky winners announced next month and the privatization program completed by 2007.

Government officials told the newspaper that having a large number of banks signed up allows for more flexibility in developing hybrid debt products and other arrangements to meet changes in the world financial markets during the coming months.

In the meantime, political considerations remain a wildcard. One particular concern is that taking the government out of Telstra's operations could lead to reductions in service in Australia's vast rural regions, particularly in broadband and other data services.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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