Belfast Telegraph

3bn euro in state assets to be sold

A 3 billion euro sell-off of state assets has been unveiled by the Government with parts of the ESB and Bord Gais energy divisions topping the privatisation list.

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said that a third of the money raised will go back into the Irish economy and the rest will be used to repay debts.

"When we came into Government, the position was that no money from the disposal of assets could be spent on anything except reducing our debts," he said.

"I am pleased that following intense engagement, the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) has agreed that one-third of the proceeds can be used for reinvestment into our economy. This is a substantial change to the Troika's previous position and will help promote recovery in the economy."

Mr Howlin said a decision had been made by Government not to proceed with a much-touted sale of a minority stake in the ESB.

The state asset sale includes the privatisation of Bord Gais's energy business which protects gas transmission and distribution systems and two gas interconnectors in state ownership; and the sale of some of ESB Electric Ireland's non-strategic power generation capacity, to be identified.

Some Coillte forests will be offered but the land on which they are planted retained; and the remaining state-controlled stake in Aer Lingus will be sold when conditions are favourable and the stock market price is acceptable to the Government.

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