The state government of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has advertised for consultants for the sale of its 58% stake in Snowy Hydro utility company.

In a newspaper advertisement, the government has called for financial, legal, accounting, tax and probity experts.

NSW has said that after the Snowy Hydro sale, the State Government of Victoria (which holds a 29% interest in the scheme) and the Australian Federal government (which holds a 13% share) will be the utility’s largest shareholders. The share issue documentation is expected to be made available next year and concluded by June 2006.

The government hopes to raise up to A$1.7B (US$1.2B) to help NSW Premier and Treasurer Morris Lemma cope with the state’s unexpected budget shortfall.

Opposition to the sale has come from farmers and environmental groups, who fear that privatisation will lead to profit becoming a priority over irrigation and environmental concerns.

Snowy Hydro is a public corporation that runs the dams, tunnels and power houses built mainly in the 1950s and 1960s on the Snowy river, and its projects generate 4500GWh/yr. The company has welcomed NSW’s sale

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