Asciano takeover deal delayed until July

The Foreign Investment Review Board delays its decision until after the federal elections in July

Asciano takeover deal delayed until July
The outlook on the waterfront and boardrooms remains clouded.


As federal government enters caretaker mode ahead of the July elections, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has sought an extension on its decision deadline on the $9 billion takeover bid for Asciano until after the elections are over.

The ports and rail company has agreed to this arrangement, with the FIRB decision now expected before July 22.

"Due to the federal government entering care-taker mode ahead of the upcoming election, FIRB has requested, and Asciano has agreed, to an extension of decision timing in respect of its application for certain approvals required to implement the scheme," the company says.

This is a second setback for Asciano this month.

Last week, the Supreme Court of New South Wales issued a summons to Asciano after container logistics firm ACFS sought clarification of the impact of the takeover on its business and its rights under a 2015 deal with Patrick that saw a merger of operations of both companies in Sydney and Melbourne.

During a prelimnary hearing yesterday, ACFS asked the court to make Asciano clarify its rights under the joint venture agreement and the effect of the scheme (of arrangement) on those rights.

The court scheduled the next hearing in the matter for May 31.

However, the date of the hearing is likely to be pushed back following today’s FIRB decision.

"As a result of this FIRB delay, Asciano expects to approach the court to defer the date for the second court hearing, currently scheduled for 9 June 2016," the company said.

"It is also considering the timing of the scheme meeting, currently scheduled for 3 June 2016. Asciano will update shareholders of any changes to these dates as soon as they are available."

Under the $9.05 billion takeover agreement, Qube Group and Brookfield Infrastructure – along with its partners, GIC, bcIMC and QIA – are due to acquire an equal share of Patrick for $2.915 billion.

While the Pacific National rail business will go to the joint consortium comprising GIP, CPPIB, CIC Capital, GIC and bcIMC.

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