The $9 billion takeover and carve-up of Asciano is back on track with the takeover partners managing to negotiate through concerns that competition could be restricted for container logistics providers at ports.
The deal by a super-sized consortium of companies from Australia, Canada, Qatar and China to acquire the ports and rail freight group means a break up of the assets of Asciano.
Submissions to the competition watchdog, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), centred around concerns about container terminals and train services running into ports.
However, today the ACCC said it would not oppose the acquisition of Asciano by a consortium of Qube Holdings, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and a group of global investment funds.
The ACCC’s investigation focused on the import-export supply chain for containerised freights through the ports of Botany, Brisbane, Fremantle and Melbourne.
“After careful consideration, the ACCC has concluded there is not likely to be a substantial lessening of competition in any market,” says ACCC chairman Rod Sims,
The ACCC expressed competition concerns in May but the parties to the takeover have since restructured the acquisition.
The super takeover consortium is made up of the members of two previously competing groups for Asciano. They are: Qube Holdings Limited, Global Infrastructure Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, CIC Capital Corporation, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners Limited, GIC Private Limited, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, and Qatar Investment Authority.
Chris Corrigan, chairman of Qube, was the managing director of the Patrick Corporation, which essentially owned Asciano’s Patrick containers terminals, until it was taken over in 2006.
The Patrick Container Terminals Business will go into a 50/50 joint venture with Qubew and Brookfield Infrastructure.
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.