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Another Australian logistics company for sale?

SYDNEY: Canadian investor group Brookfield Infrastructure Partners has made a US$6.8 billion offer for Australian multimodal company Asciano.

Asciano is Australia's largest national rail freight and cargo port operator. For the year ending June 2014, the company reported a 6.7 percent increase in revenue to A$3.8 billion and a 5.0 percent rise in EBIT to A$720.3 million.

Pacific National 2Commenting on third quarter activity ending in April, company managing director and CEO John Mullen said he expected EBIT growth for the year ending in June to be higher than fiscal 2014 "driven by modestly improving volume growth across some activities and an ongoing focus on business improvement initiatives".

Asciano operates four divisions: Pacific National Coal, the second largest provider of coal haulage in Australia, exporting from mine to port and domestic coal from mine to power stations and steelworks primarily in New South wales and Queensland.

Pacific National Rail, providing intermodal rail services and bulk haulage rail services throughout Australia. The intermodal business includes interstate container freight, interstate break bulk freight (steel) and regional freight rail services in Queensland.

Terminals & Logistics, one of two major competitors in Australia providing container stevedoring services in the four largest container ports: east Swanson Dock, Melbourne; Port Botany, Sydney; and Fisherman Islands in Brisbane and Fremantle in Western Australia. The division also provides an integrated logistics service between ocean carriers and shipper.

Bulk & Automotive Port Services specializes in the management of bulk ports and the provision of port-related logistics at over 40 sites across Australia and New Zealand. It also operates an integrated service for the transportation, processing and storage of motor vehicles from port to consignee.

Asciano has issued a statement saying it received a non-binding and conditional proposal from Brookfield on June 26 to acquire the business for A$9.05 per share in cash and stock.

The company said it was in the interests of its shareholders "to engage further with Brookfield on an exclusive basis to progress the proposal" and added discussions are at a very early stage.

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