ACCC again delays decision on Asciano acquisition

by World Grain Staff
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced on Feb. 5 that it has set a new indicative decision date of March 24 for its consideration of both:

- the proposed acquisition of Asciano Limited by a consortium comprising Qube Holdings Limited, Global Infrastructure Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and CIC Capital Corporation.

-the proposed acquisition of Asciano by a consortium assembled by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. that includes Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P.

Following the proposed A$8.9 billion acquisition, Brookfield, based in Canada, would own Asciano’s rail network and train operations in two of Australia’s eight states. This includes Pacific National, which operates on Brookfield’s rail network in Western Australia and transports products to Brookfield’s terminal in central Queensland.

For the Qube consortium acquisition, the previous indicative decision date of Feb. 18 was set on the assumption that the transaction structure would be finalized earlier in the ACCC’s review. However the transaction structure was not finalized until Jan. 28.

“The ACCC requires time to consult on Qube’s transaction structure, given we have only had details of the structure for a very short period,” said Rod Sims, ACCC chairman.

“We also need to consider whether revised undertakings offered by Qube can be consulted on, and if so, time for that consultation to take place,” Sims said.

For the Brookfield consortium acquisition, the ACCC requires further time to consider issues raised by market participants about the undertakings that have been offered by Brookfield and to consider further revisions of those undertakings offered last week by Brookfield.

“We need to consult further with market participants about the proposed divestment of Asciano’s Pacific National intermodal rail operations, other vertical integration issues in Western Australia, and undertaking commitments in relation to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, and then give Brookfield an opportunity to respond,” Sims said.

The indicative decision dates for one or both matters may change again. Although the decision dates are currently aligned, the ACCC may finalize its consideration of one proposed acquisition prior to the other.

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