Logistics, Ports & Terminals

Joint venture partner lobs lawsuit at Asciano

Patrick is a subsidiary of ASX-listed Asciano. Photo: Patrick

A legal challenge from one of Asciano’s joint venture partners has questioned the Scheme of Arrangement in place for the transport and logistics firm’s acquisition by a Qube-led consortium.

ACFS Logistics, a joint venture involving Asciano, has filed documents with the Supreme Court of New South Wales as it is seeking orders clarifying its rights under the recently filed Scheme of Arrangement.

ACFS and Asciano joined forces back in April 2013 by forming a 50/50 joint venture;  according to Asciano, its share of the  joint venture had a book value of $36.2m as at April 30, 2016 (thereby valuing the full joint venture at $72.4m).

Asciano’s equity interest in the joint venture will be part of the internal restructure to be undertaken as part of the Scheme of Arrangment.

An initial administrative hearing was held on Tuesday.

Asciano defended itself in a statement.

“The transaction was always subject to a number of conditions that needed to be satisfied before it could be completed,” the firm said.

“The parties are working are working through these conditions and will update the market as more information becomes available.

“Asciano believes the transaction is able to be completed without breaching the ACFS shareholders’ agreement. Asciano will defend any proceedings brought by the ACFS counterparties.

“If Asciano is shown to be correct, then the transaction will proceed as planned. Otherwise resolution will require a commercial negotiation to satisfy ACFS’s issues.

“However, the matter is immaterial to the overall scheme and we believe it can be resolved quickly.”

Asciano said it would update the market if the litigation looked to have any impact on the transaction, but said it does not expect a delay to occur.

ABHR affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia sought comment from Arthur Tzaneros, managing director and CEO of ACFS Port Logistics, however, the paper understands he is currently travelling inter-state and was unavailable for comment.

This is an edited version of an article which originally appeared in ABHR affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

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