Qld government drops Aurizon holding to less than 5%

THE Queensland Government has sold 74.3 million shares in rail freight company Aurizon, taking its overall ownership to less than 5%.

Aurizon, formerly QR National, was privatised by the former Bligh government in 2009 under the controversial Renewing Queensland Plan.

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls said on Tuesday (Dec 3) the State Government had taken advantage of favourable market conditions to further reduce the state's shareholding in Aurizon.

The State Government's coffers are $350 million better off as a result of the sale.

"We are also conscious to ensure our actions generate the best value for Queensland taxpayers," he said.

"Standard and Poors recently highlighted debt and deficit is still a constraint on Queensland's finances.

"We are paying around $4 billion in interest this year alone."

Mr Nicholls said the state sold 74.3 million shares at $4.71 per share, four cents above market close and three cents above the day's market volume weighted average price of $4.68.

To date more than $2.7 billion has been realised from the State Government's divestments in Aurizon since its initial public offer.

The State Government says it represents a gain of almost $900 million above the initial public offer price for Queensland taxpayers.