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Medibank debuts in Australia's biggest float this year
[SYDNEY] Australia's largest health insurer listed at a premium on the stock market on Tuesday in the country's most anticipated float this year and one of the nation's biggest ever.
Shares in Medibank Private opened at A$2.22 in the second-biggest initial public offering in Australia behind telecommunications giant Telstra Corp, which was sold in three tranches from 1997.
Forty per cent of the shares were sold to institutional investors at A$2.15 each, higher than the government's initial A$1.55-2.00 range, while mum and dad investors were able to buy them at A$2.00.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government raised A$5.7 billion (US$4.9 billion) from selling off Medibank, A$1 billion more than initially forecast with interest strong.
All the money will be tipped into the government's so-called asset recycling fund, which helps Australia's states and territories build new infrastructure such as roads.
Medibank, which provides cover to 3.8 million people, was established in 1976 by the government to compete in the private insurance market.
It became a profit-orientated government business enterprise in 2009.