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Yukon energy privatization attempt brings resignations, backpeddling

Premier vows no privatization, but talks continue.

Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie by Keith Halliday, Yukon News

July 8, 2009 — Premier Dennis Fentie appears to have backed down on his plans to essentially merge publicly owned Yukon Energy with Yukon Electrical, owned by Alberta-based Atco, thanks to the very public resignations of four Yukon Energy board members.

It's hard to tell, though. Fentie said on Monday in a news release that there would be no "privatization" or "sale" of Yukon Energy assets. But he also said recently that he would "continue to talk to Atco" and Monday's announcement pointedly refused to rule out "management contracts," "special purpose entities," or other complex pseudo-ownership structures.

It was exactly this kind of arrangement which Fentie was personally negotiating with Atco tycoon Nancy Southern.

The leaked YTG-Atco "joint position paper" that recaps negotiations between Fentie and Southern outlines an entity dubbed "Opco" jointly owned by YTG and Atco which would manage Yukon Electrical and Yukon Energy, and receive certain cash payments, while official ownership remained as it is today.

As Conrad Black or Enron executives could relate, these pseudo-ownership structures allow effective ownership (ie., control and cash flows) to go one way while legal ownership goes anotherÂ…

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  What's next for YEC, by Keith Halliday, Yukon News, July 8 2009

Posted: July 16, 2009

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