Chris Corrigan’s Qube has added a sweetener, more cash, to its bid for transport group Asciano.
Qube is now offering 7 cents more, $7.04 cash, and 1 Qube share, an implied combined value of $9.24 which gives Asciano a valuation of just over $9 billion.
Asciano says this offer is superior to that of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners’ $8.9 billion and has invited the Canadian group to improve its bid.
Asciano shares are trading at $8.89, up from about $6 a year ago.
The latest proposal would see Qube acquiring Asciano’s Patrick container terminal business and a 50% interest in the ports business Australian Amalgamated Terminals. This would cost Qube about $2.65 billion.
The other members of the Qube consortium — Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Global Infrastructure Partners and China Investment Corporation — would acquire the rail business of Asciano.
The remaining bulk, auto and ports services businesses and 50% interest in ACFS Port Logistics Pty Ltd would be sold off.
Qube says combining Ports with Qube under a single ownership and management structure will generate an estimated $30 million to $50 million a year of benefits from synergies and business improvement projects over two to three years
Corrigan, chairman of Qube, was the managing director of the Patrick Corporation, which essentially owned Qube’s containers terminals, until it was taken over in 2006.
With the backing of the John Howard federal government, Corrigan transformed Australia’s waterfront in the late 1990s using lockouts and strike breakers to smash a union hold on the supply of labour.
The ACCC is reviewing both takeover proposals.