WA Premier casts doubt over TAB sale
By Andy Young
Tabcorp’s proposed merger with Tatts Group received a small boost with Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan raising doubts about the planned sale of the state’s TAB.
The privatisation of the WA-TAB has been a potential sticking point in the proposed $11bn merger between Tatts and Tabcorp, with concerns that it would damage the value of the WA-TAB as the number of competing bidders would be reduced.
But speaking on WA Radio station 6PR, McGowan cast doubts over the planned sale when he revealed it could put the state’s credit rating at risk.
"The finances or the money that flows through the TAB actually flows through the state treasury and if that money is removed from the state treasury then we have a significant hole in our budget and therefore we run the risk of losing our credit rating," the Premier told 6PR Radio.
"So selling the TAB actually makes our state's financial position worse, increases our prospects of losing our existing AA- credit rating and so obviously I am reluctant to lose our credit rating based upon the sale of the TAB; so that's another complication we need to consider."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s tribunal looking at the proposed merger is currently underway and this week it will hear from Tatts’ CEO Robbie Cook. Also speaking at the tribunal this week Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, racing.com Andrew Catterall and Racing Victoria’s Giles Thompson.
Last week Tabcorp’s CEO David Attenborough spoke at the tribunal and said that Tabcorp would definitely look at bidding for the WA-TAB if it was put up for sale