Dáil Éireann - Volume 482 - 12 November, 1997

Written Answers. - Telecom Eireann Strategic Alliance.

104. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the re-examination, if any, which has taken place into a strategic alliance deal (details supplied). [18550/97]

108. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she met the chief executive officers of companies (details supplied); and if she will publish the terms of the strategic alliance between Telecom Éireann and these companies. [18555/97]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 108 together.

Since my appointment as Minister, I have had the opportunity to examine the strategic alliance deal between the previous Government and KPN-Telia. Last month, I met the presidents of both KPN and Telia, for wide ranging discussions to review progress under the strategic alliance deal, including discussions concerned with advancing the proposed employee share ownership plan for Telecom Éireann employees.

I am anxious that there is a good working relationship with the strategic partners to secure [1176] the best interests of the company, the customer and the taxpayer who has a major interest in the company as it prepares to face the challenges of a fully liberalised environment in the years ahead.

However, I assure the House that, as the strategic alliance develops, I will fulfil my commitment to securing the best deal for the taxpayer and on a basis which is of strategic benefit to the company and the taxpayer.

I am at present examining the question of making public the terms of the shareholders' agreement, subject only to the genuine requirements of commercial confidentiality. The release of any elements of the deal would, of course, require the agreement of the other parties involved. I should add that the main features of the strategic alliance deal in terms of the partners shareholding, the purchase price and strategic benefits for Telecom Éireann are already in the public domain.