Australian Bank Buys Optus B3

Australian Bank Buys Optus B3

Tokyo, Japan, 6 May 1998 (SAT-ND) -- Australian telecommunications and pay
television concern, Optus Communications Pty. announced it will sell its B3
satellite to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd (CBA) for A$206
million. Optus will lease back the satellite from the bank.

"The bank was chosen by competitive tender for one of the largest lease
financing deals this year," said CBA head of corporate finance Irene Lee.
"This transaction continues the Commonwealth Bank's dominance as the sole
arranger and funder of domestic satellite financing in Australia," she added.

Following a recent Federal Court decision, there had been some uncertainty
about large-scale leasing deals such as this. The CBA however said it has
developed a unique and proprietary structure that complied with current
taxation requirements.

The move comes on the heels of a A$450 million bank finance facility. Last
March, Optus also raised A$390 million through a rights issue to its
shareholders. Optus is 49-percent owned by the UK's Cable & Wireless plc
while Australia's Mayne Nickless Ltd. has a 25-percent stake.

Source: Sat-ND

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