Aurizon completes sale of Qld intermodal to Linfox

Aurizon has successfully completed the sale of its Queensland intermodal business to international logistics company Linfox, ensuring the transition for customers and regional communities as well as job security for more than 300 Queensland employees.
The sale completed on 31 January and follows the ACCC’s concerns and following approval of the sale.
The Queensland intermodal business delivers for more than 300 customers across regional Queensland, including supermarket groceries, white goods for retailers, and beer and wine for country hotels and liquor stores.
The company says the sale provides certainty for Aurizon customers and local communities in regional Queensland, ensuring the supply of goods continues with Linfox as the new business owner.
It has also secured continued employment for more than 300 people across Queensland, mostly in regional centres. These employees, including train drivers and freight terminal operators, have ensured services continued for customers throughout the transition.

Packaging companies ProPac, IPG announce merger

Packaging manufacturer Pro-Pac has agreed to a $177.5 million transformational merger with Integrated Packaging Group (IPG).
IPG is Australia’s largest specialist manufacturer in flexibles, film and wrap – and it operates five manufacturing facilities across Australia and New Zealand.
“The combination of Pro-Pac and IPG provides many exciting opportunities in the growing Australian flexibles packaging market,” said Grant Harrod, CEO, Pro-Pac.
“Pro-Pac’s expanded capacity to manufacture and distribute high-quality products will delight our customer base and provide us with a one-stop-shop offering.
“Pro-Pac will be a world class manufacturer without geographic constraints as we increase our offerings in key areas such as food service and agriculture film.”
The merger will also see Rupert Harrington, Advent’s Executive Chairman, appointed to Pro-Pac’s senior management team, bringing to the table experience in manufacturing, services, health and technology.
IPG’s CEO, John Cerini, will also be appointed to lead Pro-Pac’s Industrial and Flexible Division.
“The acquisition of IPG represents a significant milestone in the realisation of Pro-Pac’s vision to become the pre-eminent flexible and industrial packaging manufacturer and distributer in Australia,” said Ahmed Fahour, Chairman, Pro-Pac .
“The opportunity to combine two very complementary businesses will deliver significant long-term value to Pro-Pac shareholders.”

Rhomberg Rail merges with Sersa Group

Rhomberg Rail Australia (RRA) has announced the merger of its parent company Rhomberg Rail Holding Group Austria, with Swiss-based international rail technology company, the Sersa Group.

The new company will be known as Rhomberg Sersa Rail Holdings and will employ close to 1600 rail professionals worldwide.

The company’s headquarters will be located in Bregenz, Austria.

Under the merger, the two companies' existing sites in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Turkey, Australia and Canada will be included in the new group.

The combined revenue of the two companies in rail (excluding civil and buildings) was $ 450 million for the financial year 2011/12.

The joint venture’s service offering ranges from concept to completion and maintenance of rail infrastructure with a particular focus on track construction and maintenance, electromechanical solutions, overhead wiring, project delivery, consulting and engineering, rail tunnel fitout and refurbishments as well as transport and rolling stock.

The merger has been welcomed by RRA’s managing director Garry Thuer.

Thuer said the joint venture between two of Europe’s leading rail technology companies would serve to strengthen its operations here in Australia.

He went on to say that “RRA has been proud to deliver the Australian market with the successful combination of wide-ranging European expertise with the very best local knowledge.”

“Our capacity and capabilities for Australia will now be significantly enhanced by the merger of Rhomberg Rail Holdings and the Sersa Group, where RRA will now operate as part of an extremely strong international network,” Thuer added.

Qantas-BA merger hits turbulence even before takeoff

Qantas.

Qantas is likely to continue the merger talks despite an overwhelming amount of scepticism.

Proudly-Australian airline Qantas’ merger talks with British Airways (BA) have generated hostile reactions, signalling a bumpy road ahead.

The merger speculation surfaced as BA revealed talks were underway to explore a potential merger via a dual-listed company structure, following Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese’s revelation that he’d allow foreign investors, including airlines, to take a stake of up to 49 per cent in Qantas.

Qantas, the world’s 10th biggest airline, also confirmed the negotiation, but said “there is no guarantee that any transaction will be forthcoming and a further announcement will be made in due course, if appropriate.”

Fuelled by the news, Qantas shares experienced a short-lived increase of nearly 10 per cent to $2.46.

The deal is expected to create a company worth more than $8 billion. While Qantas’ market value is somewhat higher than that of BA, it is understood the companies are considering taking a half each in holdings.

BA, which was forced to sell its considerable shareholding in Qantas when faced with choking debt, is also reportedly continuing merger talks with Spanish airline Iberia. The consolidation of the three carriers will create the world’s biggest airline, comfortably beating American Airlines.

The move is in line with the argument put forward by Qantas former chief executive Geoff Dixon, who has been making headlines regurgitating the need for consolidation as a survival option for the beleaguered airline industry.

It is also speculated the merger would encompass Qantas’ budget offshoot Jetstar and the freight division.

Australian, it is and will be

The foremost impediment to the merger process would be Qantas’ obligations under Australia’s international Air Services Agreements and the Qantas Sale Act, which stipulates a cap on foreign ownership at 49 per cent and total foreign airline ownership at 35 per cent.

The Act also demands the carrier’s main operational base and headquarters must remain in Australia, and it must be Australia-incorporated, with at least two-thirds of the Qantas board and the board chairman to be Australian citizens.

The Government was quick to denounce the deal, saying it would not stand by the proposal. 

“The Australian Government believes in an Australian-based and majority Australian-owned Qantas.

“At no stage as the Government indicated support for any proposal – in principle or otherwise,” Mr Albanese said in a statement.

The government went further, pre-emptively indicating it would not support any foreign mergers of other Australian airlines including Jetstar, V Australia and Pacific Blue, as well as all Australian international freight operators such as Heavy Lift Cargo, Tasman Cargo and Express Freighters.

Mr Albanese reaffirmed the Qantas Sale Act would remain unchanged except for the review of the additional ownership restriction, and stressed retaining national airlines was imperative for economic growth and national security.

“The Government is committed to growing a strong Australian-based aviation industry and Qantas is a key part of Australia’s aviation future,” he said. 

Dogged pursuit of consolidation

Despite facing a massive backlash, Qantas is likely to remain firm on its stance favouring consolidation with an aim to create a transcontinental airline.

Qantas made an attempt to merge with Malaysia Airlines earlier this year but the move was muddied by disagreement over management issues. 

According to media reports, the Australian airline also wants to join forces with Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific, a starter in the emerging Chinese market with a 20 per cent stake in Air China.

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