Logistics, Ports & Terminals

Asciano fields takeover bid

Patrick ports and Pacific National rail haul parent Asciano has confirmed press rumours of a takeover bid.

The Australian Financial Review’s StreetTalk column this morning said that Asciano was talking to Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management about the asset manager taking a stake in the Patrick container ports business.

The AFR also said that Asciano had received a separate bid in recent weeks for the whole company.

“It’s believed the approach was indicative and non-binding and did not reach the point where it needed to be disclosed to shareholders,” wrote the AFR.

In a stock exchange announcement, Asciano confirmed that it was in play, even if some of the SreetTalk details were slightly off the mark.

The company’s announcement said that:

“Asciano refers to recent media speculation in relation to a proposal put forward to acquire 100% of the shares in Asciano.

“Asciano confirms that on 26 June 2015 it received a confidential, indicative, non-binding and conditional proposal from Brookfield Infrastructure Group (Brookfield) to acquire Asciano at an implied value of $9.05 per share in cash and scrip, by way of a scheme of arrangement. The consideration payable under the proposal would comprise a combination of cash and units in Brookfield’s listed infrastructure fund, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P.

“The Board of Asciano, together with its advisers, concluded that it was in the interests of its shareholders to engage further with Brookfield on an exclusive basis to progress the proposal.

“Discussions are at a very early stage and a number of significant steps need to be undertaken in order to progress to a formal proposal from Brookfield, including:

“Completion of comprehensive due diligence;

“Final approval of the investment committee of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and the Board of Directors of Brookfield InfrastructurePartners LP; and

“Negotiation of satisfactory definitive documentation customary for a transaction of this nature

“The Board of Asciano notes that there is no certainty that the proposal will result in an offer for the Company, what the terms of any offer would be, or whether there will be a recommendation by the Board of Asciano.

“The Board also notes that this disclosure may result in Brookfield withdrawing its proposal. If the proposal does not proceed, the Board believes that Asciano has a very attractive independent future and that the Company is well positioned to continue to deliver strong growth. The Board will update shareholders as appropriate.”

Asciano has been talking to multiple players about a joint venture arrangement or partnership for Patrick for some time, with China Merchants a name regularly in the frame.

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