The Israeli government is considering a plan to sell up to 49 per cent of the Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, according to reports circulating in the country, and believed to emanate from the prime minister’s economic adviser, Dow Jones reports. But no firm decision has yet been taken.

The government, which currently owns 99.8 per cent of the company, will continue to hold 51 per cent until the electricity sector is deregulated and fully competitive. It does not want to transfer a monopoly into private hands.

Special regulations will also be drafted to prevent private investors accumulating a controlling interest, said to be 25.1 per cent, through the stock exchange. Private companies are to be permitted to produce up to 20 per cent Israel’s electricity by 2006.

The IEC had intended to float 20 per cent of its shares early this year to finance development projects.