Australia Sells Another Chunk Of Telstra

The Australian Senate this week passed legislation allowing the governing Liberal-National Coalition to sell an additional 16.6% of telecommunications giant Telstra Corp. Ltd., which will reduce the government's holding to 50.1%. At Telstra's current share value, the sale -- expected in October -- would raise about AUS$16 billion (US$10.6 billion) and allow the government to reduce its net debt to around $51 billion (US$33.7 billion) by June 2000. Passage of the sale bill followed the government's promise to increase its "social bonus" spending package from the sale proceeds. The remaining funds raised from the sale will be used to retire government debt.

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