The government says state-owned telecoms and broadcast infrastructure company Kordia is not for sale, following a report in the Australian Financial Review which said investment banks had been asked to tender to run a sales process.
A spokeswoman for SOE Minister Tony Ryall said the AFR report was wrong. She directed all further questions to Kordia.
Kordia General Manager of Strategic Development Susie Stone said Kordia Group was not being put up for sale.
Asked whether specific parts of Kordia Group might be up for sale, Stone replied:
“We’ve got absolutely nothing to announce on that. In Australia we’ve got significant growth – the business is expanding very, very fast. As always, we’re looking for opportunities to fund some of that growth. That’s on a project-by-project basis, just so that we can keep growing at the rate that we’re going.
“But there’s been no board resolution to sell the Australian business," Stone said.
Asked how those new projects might be financed, say through bond issuance, Stone said there were a range of options, although it was too early to go into details.
Kordia was diversifying into providing communication networks in the Australian mining industry, where there were a number of substantial projects in the wings.
“These relate to infrastructure builds for new mines as they get developed in Western Australia or Queensland," Stone said.
“Some of the mines are literally hundreds or thousands of square kilometres in size. They need quite extensive communications networks to link up the various parts of the mine," she said.
"Kordia’s role is to go in and do a design and build for that activity. We’re not the service provider, but we do the design and build of the infrastructure that goes across the mine area. Those are the sort of projects that we’re talking about."
There were currently no plans for public-private partnerships (PPPs) for funding the projects, although they were “absolutely something, if there was an appropriate project, we would look at,” Stone said.
Any discussions being had in Australia were just to do with the options for how to fund the projects, she said.
Meanwhile, the company had “pretty solid” growth in its Orcon and Kordia networks business in New Zealand, “but there is a different scale in Australia than here.”