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State Assets

Government planning minority stake sale for state companies

Plan aims to raise €2 billion to support state infrastructure projects.

THE GOVERNMENT is planning to avoid the privatisation of state companies such as the ESB by instead selling a minority stake in them.

The Sunday Business Post (print edition) reports that the coalition hopes to raise €2 billion through the sale to invest in infrastructure projects including broadband and water.

The plan would have to be approved by the EU, ECB and IMF, but the paper quotes ‘high-level sources’ as saying that approval is likely to be granted.

The government had outlined plans for the sale of “certain state assets” in its Programme for Government, saying:

We will target up to €2 billion in sales of non-strategic state assets drawing from the recommendations of the McCarthy Review Group on State Assets when available.

In McCarthy’s economic report, the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities recommended a programme of state asset sales to help reduce the national debt, but warned against privatising gas and electricity assets “in the immediate future”.

The report also recommended selling the National Stud and the state’s shares in Aer Lingus.

Read more in Pat Leahy’s report in the print edition of today’s Sunday Business Post >

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