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Wednesday, 29 September 2010 18:06

Telstra aims for done deal on NBN by June 2011

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Telstra is hoping to be able to put its $11b deal with the Government for its participation in the NBN to a shareholder vote by June 2011.

Telstra CEO David Thodey told analysts at Telstra's annual investor briefing that Telstra hoped to provide the agreement to shareholders in late May 2011, 28 days ahead of an EGM to vote on it in late June 2011.

This timetable is based on the definitive agreement being completed before Christmas and the legislation being introduced into Parliament in the current session and passed by the end of March 2011. Consultation and review of the agreement by the ACCC would start once the definitive agreement had been completed.

Thodey said: "We need the ACCC approval and we can't get that until we have the legislation but we can do things in parallel so that we are ready should things move quickly. The definitive agreements are not dependent on the legislation. We can do them and just hold on to them."

Thodey said that, whatever else might transpire, Telstra was committed to the $11b figure in the financial heads of agreement signed in June: $9b from NBN for the decommissioning of Telstra's copper and cable broadband services and use of its infrastructure and $2b from the Government as a result of policy reforms that would include a new USO company taking over Telstra's Universal Service Obligations.

"We are committed to $11b net present value after tax," he said. "That is what the board has agreed and that will not change. I cannot stress that enough."

He added: "Fundamental to our strategy is to get to an environment where we have more certainly to our business. That is why we are working diligently to get this done... I can tell you that the commitment of NBN Co, of the Government and of Telstra is to get this job done and to get it done as soon as possible."

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He told the analyst audience: "NBN is obviously a big question for all of you and we would like to keep you informed as much as we can, but we are conscious we could misinform you by telling you about something that does not happen because this is a very complex process."

Thodey said there were six streams of work within Telstra on the project:
- one looking at the operational, technical and commercial components This group will be responsible for finalising the definitive agreement, including network decommissioning infrastructure rollout and access agreements;
- one on due diligence, to test and validate the assumptions, calculations and information on which the heads of agreement was based;
- one on the tax aspects,
- one on the regulatory component of the deal: the conditions precedent to enable the execution of the definitive agreement;
-one on the independent experts report that must be provided to shareholders ahead of them being asked to vote on the deal;
- one looking at commercial opportunities that the agreement, and the NBN could open up for Telstra.

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