30/10/2015 - 09:37

Qube wants to carve up Asciano

30/10/2015 - 09:37

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The ownership of railways and stevedoring operations across Australia has been thrown into further doubt after logistics group Qube Holdings revealed plans for a break-up of Asciano, after teaming up with two big international investors to acquire a 19.9 per cent stake in the takeover target.

Qube wants to carve up Asciano

The ownership of railways and stevedoring operations across Australia has been thrown into further doubt after logistics group Qube Holdings revealed plans for a break-up of Asciano, after teaming up with two big international investors to acquire a 19.9 per cent stake in the takeover target.

Asciano announced in August an agreed $12 billion takeover deal with Canada's Brookfield Infrastructure, but that deal is now looking uncertain.

Asciano's shares were placed in a trading halt before the start of trade today after Qube announced it had teamed up with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Global Investment Partners to buy the stake.

The consortium does not support the current Brookfield scheme and will not vote in its favour.

"Qube has entered into this transaction to participate in deciding the ownership of Asciano's first class Australian terminal assets," the company said in a statement on Friday.

Qube said it was keen to acquire Asciano's Patrick Containers Terminals business as the combination had the potential to create significant value.

Ita dded that GIP and CPPIB - which have funded more than two thirds of the stake - have entered into the transaction to participate in the ultimate ownership of Asciano's Pacific National rail business.

Brookfield's proposed takeover, which would be the biggest logistics deal in Australian corporate history, was approved by Asciano's board in August, but still needs approval from Asciano shareholders and the competition watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said the massive takeover could lead to rail haulage in Western Australia and Queensland being dominated by the Canadian transport and utilities giant.

Brookfield Rail is already the dominant rail freight operator in WA and industry groups have expressed concern about the group's market power if Brookfield also gained control of Asciano's Pacific National operation.

Qube on Friday said it would evaluate a number of options along with its co-investors, including not voting in favour of Brookfield's takeover, talks with Asciano or Brookfield regarding a carve-up of Asciano assets, and seeking board representation.

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