Hydro One shares go on sale

Toronto, November 6 (CINEWS):Hydro One is the biggest Canadian Crown corporation to be privatized in 20 years. As of yesterday, its shares are being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Despite very stiff opposition, the Ontario Liberals have gone ahead with the privatization.Hydro-One
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says investors have placed advance orders for more Hydro One shares than are available.
Hydro One controls Ontario’s high-voltage transmission system and distributes electricity directly to 1.4 million homes and small businesses, about 25 per cent of the province’s hydro customers, mainly in rural areas.
The province is floating a first tranche of 81.1 million shares in Hydro One at the price of $20.50, potentially bringing in $1.66 billion.
That’s just the first phase of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to privatize most of Hydro One. Her government is prepared to sell off up to 60 per cent of the utility, aiming to fetch some $9 billion.
Some $5 billion of the final share sales are earmarked for Hydro One’s debt; the rest, says Wynne, will go toward Ontario’s $130-billion commitment to building new infrastructure, such as transit.
In other words Ontario is selling off its transmission lines to help pay some of the cost of transit lines.
By not putting all of its shares up for sale at once, Ontario is aiming to avoid the shortcomings of previous federal privatizations — such as Air Canada and CN Rail — and cash in on what the government expects will be growth in Hydro One’s share price over the coming years.
Both opposition parties are opposed to this deal, even the PC party which opposed the same deal back in 2002.
“It’s a one-time payout with long-term negative consequences,” said PC Leader Patrick Brown in question period on Tuesday. “Everyone in Ontario will pay for this bad deal.”
Even the Liberals’ privatization czar, Ed Clark, advised against wholesale privatization of Hydro One.
In the short term, the selling off shares will ensure that the financial state of Ontario’s economy will look good for the next two years going into the elections, but after that, there will be a negative impact.
Ontarians will pay more for hydro and the province will be deprived of the millions in profits Hydro One brings in each year.

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