ACCC looks at Asahi-CUB deal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is assessing Asahi’s proposed purchase ($16 billion) of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) which, if the deal closes, would affect more than half of Australia’s beer market.
The proposed acquisition was announced 19 July 2019 and involves Asahi acquiring CUB by way of a share acquisition.
The ACCC said in a request for submissions dated 23 August 2019 that its investigation is focused on the impact on competition, specifically: whether Asahi and CUB compete closely for the supply of beer, cider and spirits products; the likely impact on prices; and the extent to which large customers, such as supermarket chains, hotel groups or distributors, could sponsor entry or expansion by a rival supplier if the proposed acquisition were to result in a price increase.
Submissions are open until 6 September 2019. The provisional date for the announcement of the ACCC’s findings is expected to be 31 October 2019.
The ACCC is testing section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 which prohibits acquisitions that are likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.
The Australian Financial Review claims that a combined Asahi-CUB would likely comprise more than 50 per cent of Australia’s beer market which could make divestment for some of the smaller brands a possibility.
Asahi manufactures and sells alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and food products in Japan and internationally. In Australia, Asahi manufactures and supplies a range of international and domestic beer brands, ciders and spirits.
CUB is owned by the Belgium-headquartered, multinational brewing company AB InBev. CUB, based in Victoria, is an Australian brewing company which produces beer, cider and spirit products.
CUB operates six breweries in Yatala (Queensland), Abbotsford (Victoria), Hobart (Tasmania), Brookvale (New South Wales) and Port Adelaide and Hindmarsh (South Australia).

New Sales and Marketing Director for SMC Corporation in ANZ

SMC Corporation has announced Tim Keech will join the company as a Sales and Marketing Director, responsible for the Australian and New Zealand markets.
Tim has worked for prominent industry brands throughout his career with extensive experience in Industrial Automation across various industries both locally and internationally. Skilled in Process Automation and Control, Drive Systems Application Engineering, Control Systems Design, and SCADA, Tim combines a background in sales with an Engineering Degree from Sydney’s University of Technology.
Wayne Driver, Managing Director for SMC Corporation ANZ welcomes Tim to the SMC Leadership Team and believes that his experience and knowledge of the automation industry throughout each of the regions will be of great value. “Tim is now responsible for our sales team as well as our marketing function on both sides of The Tasman. This role is critical to our company’s continued success and Tim’s approach to our business will add tremendous value in the era of Industry 4.0 and digitisation”.
Optimistic about the future, Tim says that it’s an honour to join the SMC team. “SMC has such a long and proud history of delivering quality and reliability. I’m looking forward to being part of the company’s future as it continues to innovate and meet our customers ever changing needs to remain competitive.”
“It’s exciting to be part of a company that has some unique value propositions around energy savings, cutting edge wireless technology and Industry 4.0 dedicated solutions. Working with our partners and strong local engineering team to align these capabilities with the needs of the industry is something that excites us all at SMC” concludes Tim.
According to the company, this appointment ensures SMC’s ongoing commitment to its customers in the continuous pursuit for improved processes and enhanced customer service. Tim’s energetic personality and strategic approach to business will further strengthen SMC as the industry leader.

Linfox unveils new site in QLD

Linfox has unveiled its new Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal in Southeast Queensland.
The nine-hectare site strategically located in the growth corridor of the state features five different temperature-controlled zones to manage a range of perishable products including food, beverage and health care according to Linfox Executive Chairman Peter Fox.
The high security warehousing complements the recent purchase of land in Willawong near Brisbane where the company intends to build a multi-user distribution centre as part of its ongoing investment in the Sunshine State.
“Sustainable design has been front of mind, with solar-power generation, smart LED lighting and water-capture facilities earning the design a five-star Green Star rating,” said Peter Fox in a statement issued by Linfox online.
“We look forward to introducing our Queensland customers to the facility when it is completed.”
Recently BevChain, the beverage carrier Linfox acquired in late 2017, has partnered with Carlton & United Breweries to provide warehousing and metropolitan transport across its customer network in Brisbane.
The partnership, according to Fox, complements BevChain’s existing CUB network in New South Wales and Victoria and expands the BevChain group in Australia and New Zealand to more than 800 people.
“CUB and Linfox have a deep history extending back to 1968 and we are delighted they have chosen to continue our relationship through our BevChain team,” said Fox who recognised the business as an integral partner of the top brewers including Lion, whose 50 per cent stake in Bevchain Linfox bought out when it took full control.
“This expansion of our Brisbane network, along with the opening of our new Intermodal offering in north Queensland, broadens the possibilities for customers to extend their reach in north Queensland and beyond,” he said.
Linfox also confirmed it would custom-build 25 coal haulage vehicles to go with the bespoke high productivity tri-axle Lin-double it recently unveiled in partnership with South32 as part of the company’s metallurgical coal assignment in Woolongong, NSW.

ACFS Port Logistics commits to Altona site

Salta Properties has announced that ACFS Port Logistics has signed a 10 year pre-commitment lease for a 25,000 sqm warehouse and 37,000 sqm hardstand at Nexus Altona.
Salta Properties Managing Director, Sam Tarascio said securing support from Australia’s largest privately-owned container logistics company in ACFS Port Logistics reinforces the demand for the Port Rail Shuttle Network. “We welcome ACFS Port Logistics’ support in the Port Rail Shuttle Network and look forward to developing an innovative solution that enhances its business operations.”
“ACFS Port Logistics joins a list of high calibre organisations at Salta Properties’ Altona and Dandenong sites, which have set-up base at inland port locations to maintain their competitive advantage in anticipation for the government to activate its Port Rail Shuttle Network,” Sam said.

Qube announces leadership change and full year results

Qube Holdings has announced its latest financial results and a leadership change this week.
Qube reported strong market positions and its diversification strategy enabled it to continue to achieve solid earnings growth and deliver on guidance despite challenges in some parts of the business for the year ended 30 June 2019.
Underlying Net Proft after Tax (NPAT) for the reported period was $123.2 million (+15.4 per cent year-on-year); statutory NPAT attributable to Qube was $196.6 milion ($212.6 million pre-amortisation; and underlying revenue growth was $1.73 billion (+4.7 per cent).
Other highlights for the year ended 30 June 2019, according to Qube, include: sound progress with planning, construction and leasing activities at Qube’s Moorebank Logistics Park (MLP); Patrick delivered a solid increase in earnings supported by market growth, increased market share and productivity improvements; acquisitions and growth capex completed or announced during the period provided further diversification and support future earnings growth; and statutory earnings include sizeable fair value gains on Qube’s investment properties (slightly below the comparable FY18 gains) which were partially offset by theimpairment of Qube’s investments in NSS, Prixcar and Quattro.
“In the face of some strong economic headwinds, this is a pleasing result,” Qube Managing Director, Maurice James, said with reference to releasing the full-year results.
“Qube’s diversification strategy has protected the business from a slowing economy and helped deliver our continued good performance.
“Throughout 2019, management focussed on growing market share, defending margins in a competitive environment while maintaining tight control of costs across the business units.
“This result also reflects Qube’s significant investment over many years on equipment, facilities and technology to build scale, improve efficiency and reduce costs, thereby enabling it to provide a cost effective, reliable service to its diverse customer base.
“The result also benefitted from several acquisitions that expanded Qube’s service capability, geographic and product diversification and brought additional management depth and expertise to the group,” he said.
In Financial year 2020, Qube expects similar overall economic and competitive conditions to FY’19 with a continuation of the subdued trends in container, grain, vehicle and general cargo volumes and no significant change in conditions in Qube’s other key markets including bulk commodities, forestry products and oil and gas related activities.
Qube’s organic growth opportunities, combined with the earnings from its recent and future capital expenditure, are expected to support sustainable earnings growth over the medium to long term.
Qube this week also announced the appointment of Stephen Mann to the board of
directors, effective 1 September 2019.
Mann is reported to have extensive strategy, transformation and business development experience across multiple geographies and different industries including rail, infrastructure, resources and transport.
Mann was reportedly selected via a comprehensive recruitment process from a strong talent pool comprising equal numbers of men and women. He was ultimately identified as having the skillset best aligned to Qube’s long-term strategy, particularly in the area of intermodal and infrastructure development.
“I’m very happy Steve has agreed to join the Qube board and believe he will make an excellent contribution,” said Qube chairman, Allan Davies.
“Steve’s mix of skills and experience will be valuable to Qube’s operations and strategy, particularly the ongoing development and operation of the Moorebank intermodal project,” he said.

Australia Post announces record revenue, but profits still falling

Australia Post has announced for FY19 record group revenue of $6,990 million, up two per cent. However it also announced a profit before tax of $41 million, down almost two-thirds from last year’s results.
This letter revenues declined almost 9 per cent to $2,216 million and losses from this business increased to $192 million.
This full year profit result is in line with that achieved three years ago, although masks the significant transformation from a letter business to a growing delivery and services organisation.
Australia Post has forecast that although Group revenue will grow in FY20, there will be continued pressure on profitability due to the ongoing impact of letter losses.
“This year we saw record domestic and international parcel revenue as more and more customers are choosing Australia Post as their preferred partner to deliver their ecommerce ambitions,” Christine Holgate,  Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Australia Post said.
“We also signed the historic Bank@Post community agreements this year, first with Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac, and now more than 70 financial institutions have signed on. The Community Representation contribution will enable customers to continue to conduct essential banking transactions in 3,500 Post Offices across Australia using the Bank@Post service.”
Other highlights for the financial year included:

  • Continued investment program across the operational network – invested $424 million including $300 million CAPEX in robotics and automation and 1000 electric delivery vehicles purchased to support the growing ecommerce market, offering significant safety and environmental benefits
  • Increased investments were funded from improved operating cashflows, cash grew $36 million
  • Customer Net Promoter Score up 3 points to 20.5 – a standout performance compared to other logistics operators and retailers
  • Secured an agreement with important post office licensees – providing increased payments for parcels and financial services, in addition to upgraded technology.
  • Strong customer uptake of alternate delivery options – more than 90 million parcels delivered via the Post Office network and increasing use of 24/7 Parcel Lockers in 350 locations and growing
  • Full acquisition of Aramex Global Solutions, now known as AP Global, completed in December 2018 contributing $78 million in additional revenue and giving Australia Post full control of its international commercial arm.
  • Disposal of 10 per cent stake in Aramex parent for $228 million, reducing exposure to risk

Emergent Cold enters the US with acquisition

Emergent Cold has announced today its acquisition of New Orleans Cold Storage (NOCS). The acquisition marks Emergent’s entry into the United States and according to the company, lays the foundation to build out a comprehensive network of regional distribution and import/export port facilities across North America.
Operating from four key port, NOCS facilities on the Southeast seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, offers a one-stop export process, including transportation to the port, blast freezing and warehousing, certification and documentation, and stevedoring; an equally seamless service streamlines inbound shipments destined for U.S. markets.
Upon completion of the acquisition, NOCS will continue to be led by CEO Mark Blanchard and the current management team. NOCS will be the third regional platform for Emergent Cold in addition to current operations in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Emergent Cold will leverage the long term relationships and quality service provided by NOCS to build out a complete North American network to serve Emergent’s rapidly growing global customer base with a seamless network of global cold stores.
“Through this transaction, our 133 year old company will enter into an exciting new chapter. This is a tremendous opportunity for our associates as well as our customers. We hope to bring the level of customer service and customer relationships which NOCS is known for to many more locations throughout North America, and to support our existing customers with the same services globally,” Mark Blanchard, NOCS’ President and CEO said.
Emergent Cold was founded in 2017 with the vision to be the leading global cold chain services partner for its customers and is already among the largest temperature controlled service providers in the southern hemisphere. Emergent Cold has grown through a combination of acquisitions and greenfield developments and has a network of 46 cold stores in six countries.
“We are ecstatic to enter North America with this investment in NOCS. NOCS perfectly fits our objective of serving global customers with the highest quality of service and care. We will work with Mark and his team to grow the NOCS network of cold stores and services to be an even more valuable partner to both NOCS customers globally and Emergent’s global customers into North America,” Neal Rider, CEO of Emergent Cold, said.

WiseTech makes further acquisition

WiseTech Global has announced the acquisition of US-based logistics solutions company Depot Systems.

Depot Systems is a container yard/terminal management software provider in the US offering container yard management, and container maintenance and repair estimating. It helps manage container bookings, releases and manifests, container lifting and mounting, gate EDI, as well as repair and equipment status.

Headquartered in Ohio, Depot Systems has over 200 predominantly US-based depots and terminals as customers, including Container Maintenance Corp, Trac Intermodal, ContainerPort Group and XPO Logistics. Depot Systems averages over 500,000 gate movements per month.

“Depot Systems is highly regarded as the US leader in container yard management software with innovative products and significant container yard experience. Empty container yards are a vital but often overlooked part of the international supply chain and landside logistics, thus Depot Systems is a valuable addition to build further opportunities for our technology solutions,” WiseTech Global Founder and CEO, Richard White, said.

Depot Systems Managing Director, Wally Morris, said “Joining the WiseTech Global group with its development capabilities presents enormous opportunities for us to accelerate our product development and innovate container yard logistics, which is a critical part of the supply chain yet traditionally underleveraged in terms of technology and productivity.”

Depot Systems will remain under the leadership of Wally Morris and will continue to deliver container yard management solutions to its customers in the US and potentially to customers globally who utilise CargoWise integrated supply chain execution solutions, along with WiseTech’s adjacent technology providers and new geographic regions within our global group.

This transaction follows WiseTech’s other recent logistics solutions acquisitions in Argentina, Australasia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, North America, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK and Uruguay, and is in line with WiseTech Global’s clearly stated strategy of accelerating long-term organic growth through targeted, valuable geographic foothold and technology adjacency acquisitions.

ACCC raises concerns over cold logistics storage deal

The proposed takeover of privately owned Oxford Cold Storage, the second biggest supplier of third party cold services in Victoria by Emergent Cold, the market’s third biggest player has come under scrutiny by The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Following a statement released this week the ACCC has raised preliminary competition concerns given, as it has stated, cold storage remains an integral part of the domestic and international supply chains for food products.
These include dairy, seafood, raw and cooked meat, poultry, frozen vegetables and other frozen or chilled foods.
“This acquisition would reduce the number of large Victorian suppliers from four to three,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“A significant number of customers have raised concerns with the ACCC about this deal. They consider Emergent Cold and Oxford to be each other’s closest competitors, as the companies provide similar services to similar customers.”
“The ACCC is concerned that losing the competition between Emergent Cold and Oxford in an already concentrated industry would result in higher prices and lower service levels,” Rod said
The combined Emergent Cold-Oxford would become the biggest supplier of third-party cold storage services in Victoria, controlling almost 40 per cent of total market capacity.
Market feedback indicates that the other main suppliers, Americold and NewCold, have limited spare capacity and business models that focus on supplying the largest customers.
The ACCC is seeking further information from market participants about the level of competition that would remain if the deal proceeds, as well as the ease and likelihood of entry by new operators.

DWS acquires half-stake in Coles cold storage centre in Queensland

DWS has announced the acquisition of a 50 per cent freehold interest in a refrigerated distribution centre located in Parkinson, Queensland for AUD $134.2 million. The facility’s sole tenant is Coles.
The acquisition is on behalf of its institutional focused, Asia core real estate strategy,  and is from Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust (FLT), who will retain its remaining 50% ownership.
Sitting on land holding of 15.5 hectares, the modern, purpose-built facility comprises a single story, state of the art cold storage distribution centre, cross docked facility, and offices over two levels. Built in 2008 and extended in 2012, it is let to sole tenant Coles Group Ltd.
“The property provided an attractive opportunity to acquire a super prime, refrigerated, logistics facility – a sector attracting increased investor demand for its higher yielding industrial assets.” He added: “We are delighted to partner with FLT on this joint venture ownership and look forward to working with the team,” James Bartlett, Head of Real Estate, Australia at DWS said.
“We are pleased to enter into a partnership with DWS to co-own and co-manage the Property. DWS has a proven track record in Australia’s industrial sector and has strong familiarity with cold storage logistics assets.” He continued: “This partnership is a great opportunity to bring together the mutual strengths of both FLT and DWS in the ownership and management of industrial properties,” Mr. Robert Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of the REIT Manager said.
This represents DWS’s fourth acquisition in cold storage facilities in Australia.

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