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Australian competition commission concerned over Asciano logistics takeover

Competition in Australia's container ports and stevedoring services could be affected by a complex takeover of Asciano by Qube and Brookfield, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said. 06 Apr 2016

The cross-ownership arrangements in the proposed takeover "may lead to a level of common financial interest within the consortium despite the division of the proposed acquisition of Asciano into three separate components", the ACCC said in a 'market enquiries' letter.

There are three components to the proposed acquisition.

A group made up of Global Infrastructure Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, CIC Capital, GIC Private and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) propose to acquire Asciano’s rail business.

Qube, Brookfield, GIC Private, bcIMC and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) plan to acquire Asciano’s container terminal division, although this does not include Asciano’s 50% interest in ACFS Port Logistics or Asciano’s 50% interest in Australian Amalgamated Terminals (AAT).

Thirdly, Brookfield, GIC, bcIMC and QIA propose to acquire Asciano’s Bulk & Automotive Port Services division, Asciano’s 50% interest in the ACFS joint venture and Asciano’s 50% interest in AAT.

Qube will not acquire Asciano’s 50% interest in AAT as part of this transaction, but has indicated that it will acquire this interest at a later date or nominate a third party buyer, the ACCC statement said.

The ACCC’s investigation will look at on the impact on competition of each component of the proposed acquisition. The regulator has called for public submissions on the takeover bid by 18 April and plans to announce its decision by 26 May.