$8bn Buyout to Spark Oz Port Restructure?


A significant restructuring of Australia’s economy could be on the agenda if Canadian asset management firm Brookfield buy out port and rail giant Asciano.

Asciano specialises in bulk and container shipping and owns logistics conglomerate Patrick International, as well as freight specialist Pacific National. 

This potential takeover follows recent news that fellow Canadian investment firm Canada Pension Plan Investment Board had bought a 19.99% stake in the company, shortly after Brookfield’s bid of US$8.8 billion.

Chris Corrigan, Chairman of Qube Holdings, a logistics company which also bid for Asciano, said: “You do require the container terminal operators to service rail in an intelligent fashion.

“They'll do that either at their own volition or they'll be told to do it by government. It's more of a 'steady-as-she-goes' type of proposal from Brookfield.”

According to Reuters, Mr Corrigan said he was hoping to win over Asciano with his own offer and that a warning of government intervention was aimed at scaring Asciano shareholders into avoiding extra costs.

Brookfield’s offer was made to enable it to acquire assets in a part of the world that it knows well and believes that it can strengthen its portfolio of port assets.

Corrigan said Qube’s informal offer has been considered by Asciano to acquire its port business.

He concluded: “It wasn't clear that Asciano was a seller of the entire business.”

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