Release Of Solid Energy Scoping Study

  • Bill Birch

The scoping study of Solid Energy was released today under the Official Information Act by Treasurer and Minister of Finance Bill Birch and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall.

The scoping study was prepared for Ministers prior to the decision in February to undertake a sales process by competitive tender.

"The scoping study recommended that despite the difficult outlook in the international coal market there was likely to be sufficient buyer interest in Solid Energy to achieve a sale at an acceptable price," the Ministers said. "The study also recommended that the Government proceed with a sale as soon as practicable so that Solid Energy could progress its plans to increase competitiveness in the export market by expanding production and lowering transport costs.

"The company plans significant capital expenditure, forecast to be in excess of $300 million over the next five years. The Government believes these commercial decisions involve judgements better made by the private sector."

The Ministers said no decision had yet been made on the sale of Solid Energy.

"Cabinet is yet to consider final bids but is expected to do so over the next two weeks," they said.

"The Government will only sell Solid Energy if it believes it can get a good return on the taxpayers' investment."