Friday, 12 September 2014

The rights issue

I've got a small holding in AGL, so received the offer to participate in the Retail Entitlement Offer, which in old-fashioned language is a rights issue.   It's to help AGL pay for the Macquarie Generation assets.  

Now, only a week or so ago,  I attended an internal seminar at which the competition issues involved in this acquisition were discussed.   The acquisition was authorised by the Australian Competition Tribunal, which we were told was rather dismissive of at least some of the ACCC's arguments opposing the transaction (the very detailed decision is here).    And the ACCC wasn't very happy, either.  Well, we were being addressed by the lawyer who led the competition team for AGL in this transaction, so I suppose it's natural that she would emphasise the parts of the decision that might be considered as "dismissive".

But I digress.    Of course, everyone has to make their own decision as to whether they want to participate in the offer, and there are various factors involved.  But the tax consequences are almost always a factor, so I was very pleased to see that these issues were addressed in the offer booklet in an up-front way, in the section headed, "Summary of options available to you".   Sure, there's no absolute certainly about the tax issues for any particular investor, but it was good to see the issues clearly and concisely set out, instead of the jargon we so often see along the lines that "tax isn't really our concern, but if you go to page so-and-so (deep in the innards of the documentation), you'll find some long-winded and usually inconclusive explanations".  Yes, the detailed tax dissertation was there as well, but, as I've said, it was nice to find a concise summary readily available.

As a footnote, it's a bit odd that a senior executive of AGL makes some rather "interesting"comments about the operation of the national electricity market just a day or so before the last day for the mums and dads to stump up their money!

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