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Catherine McLean

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Aliant Inc. is not considering converting into an income trust structure at the present time, Aliant chief executive officer Jay Forbes said yesterday in response to a question on a conference call with analysts. Mr. Forbes cited the change in government as a reason for not pursuing such a structure. "We only have to look at the turmoil that was introduced in the fourth quarter of last year in terms of the political situation and views around income trusts to understand that with the new political regime in Ottawa, that we'll need to be clearing up the air before one can even understand whether or not this is a viable opportunity to pursue," Mr. Forbes said. The Liberal government last year opted to leave income trusts alone and instead announced plans to cut taxes on dividend-paying stocks to try and level the playing field. The new Conservative government has said it would leave income trusts unchanged. AIT (TSX) fell 21 cents to $28.94.

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