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SYDNEY: January 28, 2016. Port and rail operator Asciano says it has received a bid from the Qube Consortium to acquire the Australian logistics company for nearly US$6.4 billion, following a similar offer last year from Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.

The consortium, made up of Qube Holdings (Qube), Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and the China Investment Corporation (CIC Capital), says its bid “represents superior value to the conditional scheme of arrangement and conditional takeover offer by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners”.

Qube logisticsQube, a provider of logistics services in Australia that includes automotive, landside logistics, bulk and general stevedoring (right), says combining Asciano’s port assets under a single ownership and management structure will generate A$30–50 million of benefits from synergies and business improvement.

Asciano's business includes container terminal operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth that have a capacity of approximately 4.9 million TEUs; port, terminal and supply chain services; and nationwide Australia rail operations with the capacity to move 180 million tonnes of freight across mineral and bulk haulage, steel and intermodal sectors.

Consortium member CIC was set up in 2007 as a vehicle to diversify China's foreign exchange holdings. At the end of 2014 CIC's total assets amounted to US$746.7 billion, including the Goodman Trust Australia and Investa Property Trust.

Companies in GIP’s transport portfolio, featuring Edinburgh, Gatwick and London City airports and Argentina’s largest container terminal, have combined annual revenues of over US$5 billion and employ approximately 21,000 people.

At the time of the Brookfield offer last year Asciano chairman Malcolm Broomhead said: “We are pleased to recommend to our shareholders this compelling transaction with Brookfield Infrastructure”. Reacting to the Qube offer, Asciano said that while it will consider the new proposal it “continues to unanimously recommend the Brookfield proposal in the absence of a superior proposal”.

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