WELLINGTON, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government Friday unveiled details of a bonus scheme for the first of its controversial partial privatization of state-owned energy companies (SOE), which it hopes will see the firm 85-percent New Zealand-owned when it lists next month.
Only New Zealand retail investors in the Mighty River Power ( MRP) offer would receive one loyalty bonus share for every 25 shares they hold for two years from the offer, up to a maximum of 200 bonus shares, Finance Minister Bill English said.
He also announced an indicative price range of 2.35 to 2.80 NZ dollars (1.97 to 2.35 U.S. dollars) per share, with the final price to be confirmed on May 8 after the retail offer had closed and the institutional offer had been conducted.
"The loyalty bonus scheme that I am announcing today is another way to encourage widespread and substantial New Zealand ownership of shares in MRP," English said in a statement.
"It also recognizes the loyalty of those New Zealanders who retain their shares and contribute towards the country's savings culture."
Around 440,000 New Zealanders registered their interest in the share offer during the pre-registration period that ended two weeks ago.
The company is expected to list in New Zealand and Australia on May 10.
The government is aiming to raise between 5 billion and 7 billion NZ dollars from the sale of up to 49 percent in Mighty River Power and three other energy companies and in Air New Zealand.
Opposition politicians accused the government of misleading the public by failing to mention the risks posed by ongoing electricity price negotiations between Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto and state-owned power firm Meridian for the Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, which consumes 15 percent of New Zealand's electricity.
Rio Tinto has threatened to close the smelter if it cannot agree a price, which critics say would flood the electricity market and lower stock market values for the state-owned companies.
Polls have shown a majority of New Zealanders oppose the partial privatizations, which were first announced in May 2011.