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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Telstra share sale date revealed
People using Telstra phone boxes
Australians can dial up for a stake in Telstra on 23 October
The Australian government has announced a date for an 8bn Australian dollars (3.2bn;$6bn) sell-off of its shares in telecoms giant Telstra.

The government holds a 51.8% stake in Telstra worth A$24bn, and will sell the first of three tranches of this to private investors on 23 October.

The Telstra privatisation has been dogged by controversy. Opponents say it could result in reduced rural services.

Supporters of privatisation think it will make the company more competitive.

Personal conflict

The announcement comes amid renewed attacks on Telstra's chief executive Sol Trujillo by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Mr Trujillo, an American who took the helm at Telstra in 2005, opposed the appointment of a close ally of Mr Howard to the board.

This triggered an assault by Mr Howard on Mr Trujillo's A$8.7m pay package.

Mr Howard took aim at the poor performance of Telstra's share price since Mr Trujillo took over. He suggested that shareholders in Telstra should query the boss's "huge salary".

Telstra shares have fallen by more than 30% since July 2005, although its shares rose slightly after announcing the sell-off plan.


SEE ALSO
Telstra loses phone market ruling
21 Dec 05 |  Business
Howard paves way for Telstra sale
17 Aug 05 |  Business
Chief quits in Telstra board row
15 Apr 04 |  Business
Senate rejects Telstra sell-off
30 Mar 04 |  Business

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