Smoke and mirrors yet again (corrected)
The QR float came in at the bottom of the indicated price range ($2.55 a share for institutions, $2.45 for individuals) and the government sold only 66 per cent of the shares, implying a return of $4.1 billion. However, the government announced a return of $4.6 billion. Unsurprisingly, these figures are bogus. To get there the government included some extras, picked up in later reports:
Dividends due to the government from the company and cash proceeds from a debt facility make up the difference between the $4.1bn worth of shares issued and the total revenue figure of $4.6bn.
It’s pretty rich, but par for the course for this government, to treat the dividends from an asset you are selling as part of the sales proceeds.
A couple of points
* The sale just scraped in at the government’s minimum. What are the odds that some favours were called in, and future favours promised, the get the float over the line?
* As I mentioned last time , the government took on $4.3 billion of extra debt when it restructured QR for sale. So, in cash terms, this sale actually leaves the government marginally behind.
Update In the original version I used reports that said the government had retained a 40 per cent holding, which created some additional puzzles. I’ve now fixed this.