The Federal Government has injected over $300 million in equity into NBN Co, it has come to light this week, doubling the capital available to the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network.
The figure was revealed in Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) records for NBN Co which show the total value of shares/interests on offer is $662 million.
The equity injection is believed to have taken place prior to the calling of the Federal election. On Tuesday 17 August, NBN Co filed a number of documents including a notification of share issue, and changes to share structure. This week's filings were the most recent company changes since mid-year when there were similar share issues and restructures to correspond with equity injections.
In late May NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, told a Senate Estimates hearing committee that the company had so far received $260 million in equity funding from the Government, with another $52 million in equity due by June.
The Government has allocated $43 billion in funding to set up a fibre optic network around Australia. This funding is periodically handed to NBN Co, which manages the operational and capital spend for the roll out.
Quigley told the Senate Estimates hearing in May that at that time there were no more planned equity injections, and it had not committed to any more spending than $312 million.
"The next week or so [June] of another $52 million – which will take us to $312 million,” Quigley said. “After that we haven’t had any detailed discussions on particular equity injections after that point.”
This week, there were also two separate supplementary documents filed by NBN Co, one which has an effective date of 25 March – when the response to industry submissions were released – while the other is 17 September.
On August 12 NBN Co announced a deal with Telstra to construct the fibre network in Brunswick, Melbourne.
The documents have not been uploaded to the ASIC database.
Update: A spokesperson for NBN Co told Computerworld Australia that the equity injection revealed in the ASIC documents were submitted prior to Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling the Federal election, and fell outside the start of caretaker conventions. The increased equity was for the company's operational expenditure.