Written Answers. - Telecom Éireann Flotation.

John Perry

Question:

217 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the plans, if any, she has to allow telephone subscribers the opportunity to purchase Telecom Éireann shares at the pre-launch price; if her attention has been drawn to the major operational implication the launch of Telecom Éireann will set as a precedent for future semi-State or State companies; and if her attention has further been drawn to the point raised in a submission (details supplied). [1441/99]

The precise structure of the offer to the public of shares in Telecom Éireann, which is being planned for around mid year, depending on market conditions, will not be determined until closer to the flotation date. The shares will be targeted at retail investors in Ireland and to institutional investors both in Ireland and abroad. It is envisaged that there will be a registration period for retail investors in advance of the actual offer period, when full details of the structure, process of application and the company will be made widely available. A significant retail tranche is in line with the overall objectives for the IPO, which are to maximise return to the Exchequer and to ensure that IPO should be successful, wider share ownership and value for money on expenditure related to sale.

The question of offering incentives to potential retail investors, whether they are Telecom Éireann customers or not, is under consideration but a final decision will not be made until closer to the time.

The Government recognises fully the importance of this IPO project in the context of the precedent it may set for future changes in ownership of other State companies.