Has there been a protest against the Singapore government’s barbaric
execution of Van Nguyen by Australian investors in the float of
Victorian and South Australian energy company SP Ausnet?

What was mooted as a $1.6 billion raising has shrunk to $1.4 billion
after the book build was priced at just $1.38 a share, which is in the
bottom half of the range between $1.29 and $1.57.

The AFR’s Chanticleer columnist yesterday predicted a price of
$1.45-$1.50 but the float promoters are still talking up the result as
you can see in The Age
today. All this talk of it being twice over-subscribed ignores the
lower than expected pricing and the fact that Singaporean investors have
taken up 40% of the new shares, suggesting relatively tepid interest
from Australia.

That said, we’re still in a boom market for infrastructure assets and
the Singapore government is more than $1 billion in front on the $7.2
billion its has invested in Australian energy assets.

Singapore Power was disciplined in staying on the sidelines during the original $30 billion Kennett
Government privatisation program between August 1995 and May 1999.
However, it entered the fray in June 2000 when American utility GPU
booked a $450 million loss on the sale of its electricity transmission
business, PowerNet Victoria, for $2.1 billion.

As you can see from Crikey’s world famous power privatisation list, in April 2004 TXU sold its Australian business to Singapore Power for $5.1
billion, booking a $513 million profit although the business repatriated no
dividends back to Texas during its eight year operation.

There isn’t much scope for a consumer protest against Singapore
Power because they own the Victorian electricity transmission network,
the electricity distribution network in eastern Victoria, the gas
distribution network in western Victoria, an underground gas storage
facility in Victoria, a one-third interest in a gas pipeline linking
Victoria and South Australia and a 99-year lease on the 1200-megawatt
Torrens Island gas-fired power station in South Australia.

Unfortunately, they sold the old TXU retail business to China Light
& Power (CLP), so they don’t have anything you can switch from
without moving house. That said, Singapore Power retains 51% of SP Ausnet, so the AGM will provide a forum
for attacking Singapore Inc., as will the Australand AGM next May.

Of course, you can always follow Lex Lasry’s lead and dump your
Optus account. And why not fly to Singapore for next year’s Singtel AGM,
given that the CEO is the PM’s brother and Lee Kwan Yew’s second son.
The possibilities are endless.