ACCC begins market consultation on Brookfield-Asciano deal


Commission says market opinion can help determine whether the revised undertakings can alleviate its concerns

ACCC begins market consultation on Brookfield-Asciano deal
The tentative date for ACCC’s final decision on the revised undertakings is February 18, 2016.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is calling for public comment and opinion on the revised proposal submitted by a consortium assembled by Brookfield Asset Management in relation to the proposed acquisition of port and freight operator Asciano.

The ACCC believes that market opinion can help it determine whether the revised undertakings can alleviate its competition concerns and ultimately help the ACCC decide whether to accept or reject the proposal.

The consortium, which includes Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, submitted a second remedy proposal of undertakings to address the preliminary competition concerns raised by the ACCC on October 15.

The revised proposal involves two undertakings:

  • a commitment to divest to an independent party, Pacific National’s intermodal business, which operates the interstate freight service around Australia, and Pacific National’s limited bulk rail operations in Western Australia; and
  • commitments to ensure independent operation and decision making at Brookfield’s Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.

"Indeed, the Commission has not yet had the opportunity to consider these undertakings fully but considers that its views on the undertakings will benefit significantly from market feedback," ACCC chairman Rod Sims says.

However, Sims maintains that the call for market opinion "should not be interpreted as a signal that the ACCC will ultimately accept these undertakings".

The last day for submission is January 22, 2016.

The tentative date for ACCC’s final decision on the revised undertakings is February 18, however, the date is subject to change based on the nature and extent of any concerns raised and timely response from Brookfield.

The ACCC was earlier expected to make a final decision on the transaction on December 17 but the date was pushed further after it accepted Brookfield’s request to suspend the original timeline.

 

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