Ontario to sell 60 percent of Hydro One utility -report

Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:50am EDT
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TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - The government of the Canadian province of Ontario will sell a 60 percent stake in provincially owned electrical utility Hydro One in an initial public offering, Canadian media reported on Thursday.

The Toronto Star, citing unnamed sources, said Ontario will retain a 40 percent stake in the C$16 billion ($13 billion) transmission utility and that minority shareholders will be limited to 10 percent stakes.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli was not immediately available for comment. The Liberal government said in March a decision on Hydro One had not yet been made, but that the government was committed to retaining a controlling stake and to regulating electricity rates.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, has seen its debt balloon to C$300 billion since 2009 as an until-recently strong Canadian dollar hurt exports and the province's manufacturing sector.

The government has pledged to balance its budget in the 2017-18 fiscal year. It is running a C$12.5 billion deficit this fiscal year.

Proceeds of a Hydro One IPO could help the government fund programs including a C$29 billion 10-year plan to build public transit, roads, bridges and highways.

($1=$1.224 Canadian) (Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway)