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Commonwealth Acquires Australian Submarine Corp.

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

THE HON. JOHN MOORE, MP Minister for Defence

SENATOR THE HON. NICK MINCHIN Minister for Industry, Science & Resources

THE HON. JOHN FAHEY Minister for Finance & Administration

MIN319/00 30 October 2000

COMMONWEALTH ACQUIRES FULL OWNERSHIP OF THE AUSTRALIAN SUBMARINE CORPORATION

The Federal Government today announced that the Australian Industry Development Corporation (AIDC) has signed an agreement for the acquisition of the remaining 51.55% equity in the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).

The equity will be acquired for $43.49 million and it is expected that the acquisition will be finalised later this week. Shortly thereafter all of the share capital in ASC will be transferred to direct Commonwealth ownership.

The Minister for Finance and Administration, John Fahey, said that the impending acquisition was the first stage of a reform process expected to lead to ASC's onward sale to the private sector.

"The acquisition is a critical step in ensuring that the Collins project is brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that the capability exists to support submarine repair, refit and enhancements in the long term", Mr Fahey said.

The Government considers that these changes will be beneficial to ASC's future, recognising that the build phase of the Collins Class project is nearing completion and that the company is currently in the process of transformation to a smaller scale maintenance and support operation.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, said the Government wishes to maintain and enhance the considerable skill base that has been established at the ASC due to the company's importance to Australia's submarine capability.

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, said that an immediate step would include a review of future contractual arrangements between the ASC and the Commonwealth for the support of the Collins Class Submarines.

As a first stage in this process, three international firms BAE Systems plc, Newport News Shipbuilding Inc, General Dynamics Corporation, and two domestic companies ADI Limited and Tenix Pty Ltd have been invited to take part in a funded study which will canvass options for the future arrangements.

These participants have been selected on the basis of their whole system submarine construction and support experience or their substantial Australian naval shipbuilding and repair expertise.

It is envisaged that other Australian and overseas companies with relevant experience will be given the opportunity to discuss aspects of the study with participants.

The Ministers said that the resultant study reports will be used by the Commonwealth in refining and developing better and more sustainable arrangements for future support of the Collins Class Submarines and will also assist in developing a privatisation strategy for the ASC.

Senator Minchin and Mr Fahey said that a new Board for the ASC would be announced once the Commonwealth had taken full direct ownership and control of the company.

Canberra

30 October 2000


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