analysts who are dismayed at the slow pace of the government''s
divestment can take heart. Australia''s largest phone company,
Telstra, has finally completed its privatisation process,
after a decade long effort with unions and politicians
weighing in against the move.
Australian government finally managed to divest its 51.8-per
cent majority ownership of the former telecom monopoly
that allowed its shares to start trading last week.
The value of the
government''s stake was estimated at A$24 billion (Rs83,208
crore), the first lot of which was sold for A$8 billion
last month. In the sale of the final lot of the remaining
one-third shares the government ended up adding nearly
twice the amount A$15.5 billion (Rs53,738.5 billion)
to its coffers.
to reports, the sale of the third and final tranche of
shares was heavily oversubscribed and the divestment has
enabled 10 per cent of Australians to become Telstra shareholders.
Telstra privatisation had been dogged by controversy and
it took the former Australian monopoly a decade to complete
the process, which had been stalled with politicians weighing
in against the divestment on the grounds that rural services
would be jeopardised.
last sale of shares in took place in 1999 and ever since
then its prices have halved, with the carrier losing revenue
in its only business offering traditional fixed-line
its American CEO Sol Trujillo, Telstra is undergoing a
five-year modernisation programme to expand its business
to reduce its dependence on the fixed line business.