RPT-Australia's NSW government asks UBS, Deutsche to study potential $19 bln power sale

Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:41am EDT

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SYDNEY, July 14 (Reuters) - Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state government said on Monday it appointed UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG to study the potential privatisation of its A$20 billion ($19 billion) electricity network.

The country's most populous state has been among the busiest in a A$100 billion nationwide selldown of state-owned infrastructure assets to pay down debt and raise cash to fund much needed capital works.

The state has already this year sold two power stations to Australia's second largest energy retailer AGL Energy Ltd for A$1.5 billion. It also sold Port of Newcastle, the world's busiest coal terminal, to Hastings Funds Management and state-backed China Merchants for A$1.75 billion.

In a statement on Monday, NSW treasurer Andrew Constance said UBS and Deutsche will present the government with a study on "the best structure for the transaction" by the end of 2014. The government then plans to take the sale to an election scheduled for March 2015.

The government has previously said it plans to sell 49 percent of its so-called "poles and wires" business to pay for an array of public transport improvements including a second rail crossing for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. ($1 = 1.0645 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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