The great privatisation list

December 27, 2022

Here is a list of privatisation deals in Australia over the past 20 years.


Australian Industry Development Corporation:
public float that raised $25 million for the Hawke Government.

NSW Investment Corporation: trade sale that raised $60 million for the Greiner Government.


State Bank of Victoria
: sold to the Commonwealth Bank for $1.3 billion after taxpayers absorbed about $1.7 billion in loan losses through its failed merchant banking arm Tricontinental.

Commonwealth bank: Keating government floated the first 30% at the knock-down price of $5.40 a share, collecting just $1.3 billion for taxpayers.


Loy Yang B power station: the Kennett government picks up the Kirner Government's tortuous privatisation process of the Loy Yang B power station and sells 49 per cent to Mission Energy for $1.3 billion with an over-priced power purchase contract under-pinning the sale price.

Portland Smelter Unit Trust: trade sale that raised $171 million for the Victorian Government with Alcoa and the Chinese Government major investors.

: trade sale to telecommunications provider Optus that raised $504 million for the Federal Government.

: trade sale that raised $665 million from British Airways with a further $1.3 billion collected in a public float two years later.

: raised $1.26 billion in a public float at $2.40 a share for the NSW Government and was then disastrously taken over by AMP before being sold to Suncorp.

State Insurance Office: one of the few assets sold by the Kirner Government in Victoria which fetched $125 million from GIO.


Heatane Gas: the bottled gas division of Victoria's Gas & Fuel Corporation which was sold to Elgas for a big price of $129.5 million.

NSW Grain Corporation
: trade sale that raised $96 million for the NSW Liberal Government.

SAGASCO: trade sale to Boral that raised $417 million for the South Australian government, and established Boral as one of the major players in Australia's gas industry.


Gladstone Power Station: Queensland's biggest, was sold by the Goss government to Comalco, NRG and a group of aluminium traders. At the time it was the largest private power acquisition in the world but had the safety of a long-term power supply deal back to the government.

NSW State bank
: sold to Colonial for a net price of about $250 million in 1994 in what then Colonial CEO Paul Batchelor described privately as "the greatest bank robbery in history". The bank was valued at $2 billion when CBA took over Colonial in 2000.

Moomba to Sydney gas pipeline: Keating government collected $500 million from the sale of the Moomba to Sydney gas pipeline to AGL with 51 per cent and Gasinvest with 49 per cent.

CSL: floated for $2.30 a share or $300 million. Now worth more than $20 billion as the original investors enjoy making 50-fold returns in 15 years.

Tabcorp: floated for $2.25 a share or $675 million. Shares are now around $12, the company is worth $6 billion and more than $10 has been returned to shareholders through dividends.

Grain Elevators Board
: trade sale to Vicgrain Operations that raised $52 million for the Kennett Government.


Collinsville power station: the Queensland Government awarded a $130 million contract to NRG and Transfield to refurbish and recommission the Collinsville coal-fired power station.

Pipelines Authority of South Australia
: Texas-based Tenneco joined with Santos to buy the Pipelines Authority of South Australia from the SA government for $304 million.

United Energy: Kansas City-based Utilicorp, AMP and NSW State Super buy Victorian electricity distributor and retailer United Energy for $1.553 billion from the Kennett Government.

GFE Resources: Kennett Government sold gas exploration division GFE Resources for $56.2 million to Cultus Petroleum. Most of the territory is now owned by Origin Energy.

Solaris Power: AGL and US company GPU pay $950 million for Solaris Power, the smallest of the five Victorian electricity distributors based in Melbourne's western suburbs.

the largest Victorian electricity distributor covering the western half of the state, sold to US utility PacifiCorp for $2.15 billion.

Eastern Energy
: Texas Utilities pays the Victorian Government $2.08 billion for the electricity distributor covering the east of the state.

Citipower: the geographically smallest of Victoria's five electricity distributors was bought by New Orleans-based utility Entergy for $1.57 billion.

Aerospace Technologies of Australia: trade sale to Boeing that raised $40 million for the Keating Government.

Port of Geelong
: trade sale that raised $51 million for the Kennett Government with TNT leading the purchase.

Port of Portland: trade sale to an Australian consortium that holds equal interests - 50% each holding for the Australian Infrastructure Fund and the Utilities Trust of Australia. This sale raised $30 million for the Kennett Government.

State Government Insurance Commission: trade sale to the NRMA that raised $175 million for the South Australian government.


: Kennett Government awards Transurban the contract to build own and operate the $1.3 billion City Link project connecting Melbourne's major freeways.

Bank West: $900 million trade sale by the WA Government to British bank HBOS ahead of a public float.

Commonwealth Bank: Howard government floats remaining 51% at $10.45 a share, raising about $5 billion when you include the $1 billion buyback at $10.01 which was part of the deal. See this report.

Commonwealth Funds Management: trade sale that raised $63 million.

Suncorp-Metway: with the merger of 100% owned Suncorp and QIDC entities with the publicly listed Metway Bank, this gave the Queensland Government a majority shareholding of 68%. They indicated a sell-down to more than 15% but by 2000 they had relinquished all holdings through a public float. The business is now worth more than $12 billion.

Yallourn power station
: PowerGen of Britain leads a consortium including Itochu, AMP, Hastings and NSW State Super which paid $2.43 billion to the Kennett Government for the 1800mW Yallourn power station in the Latrobe Valley.

Hazelwood Power station
: Britain's National Power and its US partners Destec and Pacific Corp paid the Kennett Government a ridiculous $2.3 billion for the 30-year old Hazelwood Power station in the Latrobe Valley.

Bank SA: the good part of the old State Bank of South Australia was sold to Advance for $720 million and now sits inside St George Bank.

Axiom Funds Management: trade sale to Deutsche Bank that raised $240 million for the Carr Government.

Forwood Products: trade sale that raised $123 million for the South Australian government.

World Trade Centre
: trade sale to a Malaysian Syndicate that raised $103 million. They on-sold it to a joint-venture Asset 1for $112 million.

Victorian Plantations Corp: trade sale to Hancock Victorian Plantations that raised $550 million.


Loy Yang B power station: Edison Mission Energy renegotiates long term power sale deal done with Kirner and Kennett governments and takes over a $1.1 billion liability and 100% ownership of the 1000mW Loy Yang B power station in the Latrobe Valley.

Powernet Victoria
: US utility GPU pays an excessive $2.55 billion to the Kennett Government for the monopoly electricity transmission company.

Airports: with the sale of separate long-term leasehold interests in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth airports generating gross proceeds of $3.31 billion.

Australian National Rail
: trade sale that raised $95 million.

Brisbane Airport: trade sale that raised nearly $1.4 billion for the Howard Government.

Melbourne Airport: trade sale that raised $1.3 billion for the Howard Government with AMP, NSW State Super and BAA leading the buyout group.

Perth Airport: trade sale that raised $643 million.

: initial public float that raised $14.3 billion at the knockdown price of $3.30 a share.

State Gas Pipeline: trade sale that raised $163 million.


Adelaide Airport
: sold to Parafield & Adelaide Airport Ltd for $467 million.

Darwin & Alice Springs airport
: sold to Alice Springs & Darwin International Airport Pty Ltd for $108 million.

Canberra airport:
sold to consortium led by the Snow brothers for $65 million.

Hobart airport
: sold to Hobart International Airport Pty Ltd for $35 million.

Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline: Epic Energy, a consortium including American power giants El Paso and Consolidated Natural Gas, along with AMP, NSW State Super and Hastings, pay the WA Government a ridiculous $2.47 billion for the Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline and eventually lose all their equity.

Australian Industry Development Corporation: trade sale that raised $200 million for the Howard Government.


Ecogen Energy: owner of Victoria's two small gas-fired power stations, sold by Kennett Government to US utility AES for $350 million.

Queensland TAB
: floated for $2 a share or $268 million in 1999 and then taken over by Tabcorp in 2004 as investors enjoyed returns of almost 1000%, including a solid dividend flow.

Gascor: the final Kennett Government privatisation saw Queensland's controversial state-owned energy company Energex pay $29.25 million for the rights to buy 10 petejoules of gas from Gascor for the next four years until the market was fully contestible. This was Alan Stockdale's way of trying to bring a fourth competitor into the gas market.

ETSA transmission
: Li Ka-Shing led Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Hong Kong Electric Holdings pays $3.5 billion to the South Australian government for ETSA transmission and distribution assets.

Westar/Kinetik: Texas Utilities buys the first of three Victoria gas retailers and distributors, Westar/Kinetik, for $1.62 billion.

: American group Utilicorp and its local partner AMP paid the Kennett Government $1.97 billion to snare the second of Victoria's gas retailers and distributors.

Gasnet: Victoria's monopoly gas transmission business, sold to GPU for $1.025 billion in the last of the Kennett sales.

Telstra: T2 involved the sale of 2.13 billion shares and these raised about $16 billion for the government, as this audit report notes.


Broadcast Australia
: Howard Government sell the SBS and ABC transmission towers for $650 million to UK company NTL, which later sold them to Macquarie Bank which then jacked up the prices paid by taxpayers and doubled their money.

Torrens Island power station: Texas Utilities pays $295 million to the South Australian government for a 100 year lease to operate the 1280mW gas-fired Torrens Island power station.

Alinta Gas: Utilicorp (later Aquila) and AMP pay $4.38 a share for a cornerstone shareholding in WA gas utility Alinta Gas before it is floated by the Court government at the knockdown price of $2.25 a share. Singapore Power and the Babcock & Brown empire than bought the business for about $15 a share in 2007, so once again taxpayers were dudded. However, those who accepted all that Babcock paper only finished up with about $11 a share - still not a bad result after paying $2.25 in the float.

ElectraNet: Queensland's Powerlink, ABB and Macquarie Bank form a consortium and pay $938 million for South Australia's electricity transmission company ElectraNet.


Bell Bay power station
: the government-owned Tasmanian Hydro Electric Corporation hands 120mW Bell Bay power station to Duke Energy for conversion to natural gas, complete with a long term management contract.


National Rail Corporation and Freightcorp
: Howard Government received $1.05 billion from Toll Holdings and Patrick Corp for its rail assets.


Millmerran power station
: the 840mW station is the largest "greenfield" private investment in electricity generation in Australia (as opposed to purchasing an existing facility from a government utility). It was built by a InterGen/Shell-Bechtel joint venture and is owned by a partnership made up of InterGen, Marubeni, GE Capital, Tohoku Electric and EIF.


Roaring 40s Renewable Energy
: China Light & Power invests $110 million for a 50% stake in Hydro Tasmania's Roaring 40s Renewable Energy business.


DirectLink: Australian Pipeline Trust (now APA Group) buys the DirectLink electricity transmission asset linking the NSW and Queensland power grids for $170 million from the NSW Government-owned Country Energy, Hydro Quebec International Group and Fonds de Solidarites des Travailleurs de Quebec.

Australian Railway Group: Queensland Government owned Queensland Rail teams up with Babcock & Brown to buy the partially government-owned Australian Railway Group in a $1 billion deal that covers three non-Queensland states.

Murraylink power connector
: Australian Pipeline Trust (now APA Group) buys the 180km underground Murraylink power connector linking the Victorian, South Australian and NSW power markets for $153 million. The asset was built by Hydro Quebec for $177 million.

Allgas energy: Australian Pipeline Trust, now renamed APA Group, pays $535 million to the Queensland Government for the Allgas energy distribution business.

Sun Retail
: Origin Energy pays $1.2 billion to the Queensland Government for Sun Retail, the major part of the old Energex retail operations. AGL pays $75 million for the smaller Sun Gas Retail business.

Telstra: T3 generated $15.4 billion for the government, as this audit report notes.


Powerdirect: AGL buys retailer Powerdirect from the Queensland government for an exorbitant $1.2 billion.


Tatts Group:
in a deal worth more than $1 billion, they purchased the state lotteries company from the NSW government.

QR National: Queensland government pocketed $4.05 billion selling 66% of the company to retail investors at $2.45 and institutional investors at $2.55. See press report.


QR National: Queensland government pocketed another $1.5 billion through a $500 million placement and a $1 billion buyback at $3.47. See press report.


QR National: Queensland govt fetched $350m from sale of another 74m Aurizon shares in December as Treasurer Tim Nicholls claimed had raised $2.7 billion in total since Newman Government took office.

Port Kembla and Port Botany: a consortium of industry funds paid $5.07 billion to the NSW government for 99 year leases over the two ports. See media report.


Queensland Motorways:
A consortium lead by Transurban paid just over $7 billion for the 5 concessions in Brisbane. See announcement.

Rural Finance: Bendigo Bank paid $1.78 billion to the Victorian Government for the business.

Medibank Private: Abbott Government raised gross proceeds of $5.68 billion from a public float.


Port of Melbourne, VicRoads data base, various land titles offices,

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