Australia mulls expansion of Telstra float

10 Nov 2006

The Australian government has declared its partial privatization of telecoms giant Telstra a success after investors snapped up A$8 billion ($6 billion) of the company's shares, an AFP report said.

The AFP report quoted Australia's Finance Minister Nick Minchin as saying that small investors bought all the Telstra shares they could before the retail offer ended Thursday and the government would have to sell down more of its stake in the company to meet demand from institutional investors.

'We expect that by the end of today we will have already exceeded our 8-billion dollar target over the first three stages of the sale,' Minchin told the Senate as small investor demand for 'T3' shares surged.

The float has been dubbed T3 as it is the third tranche of Telstra shares offered by the government after T1 in 1997 and T2 in 1999.

'Over the first two weeks we saw a steady flow of applications but in the last three days we have witnessed a surge of applications for shares from individual investors,' Minchin was further quoted as saying.

The government said in early October it would increase the allocation of shares in T3 to $10 billion if demand was strong enough, the AFP report further said.

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