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.

CEVA rejects CMA CGM buy-out offer valuing it at $2.3bn

Shipping company CMA CGM has launched a cash offer to buy out other shareholders of CEVA Logistics. CMA CGM already owns just over 50% of CEVA, made up of shares and derivatives. The company’s current offer of CHF 30 (AUD 42) per share values the Swiss forwarder at AUD 2.33 billion, a tie-up aimed at boosting growth through economies of scale and cooperation.
CEVA began developing a business plan to boost commercial cooperation and complementary services last year. At the time and following a rejected takeover bid in October by Danish freight company DSV, CMA CGM offered CHF 30 per share for the rest of the Swiss company,.
CEVA Logistics’ board of directors said on Monday that while CMA CGM’s offer was “reasonable from a financial perspective” and “provides a fair exit opportunity”, they board did not recommend shareholders accept the offer as they expect CEVA will eventually be worth more as the two companies work together.
The CEVA Board said the company’s true takeover value was at least CHF 40, due to an intensified business collaboration with CMA CGM potentially resulting in strong sales and revenue growth.
CEVA Logistics shares rose 0.5 per cent to CHF 30 following the announcement.

Asciano punts NSW, QLD governments

Port Botany

Port Botany

Asciano chief executive Mark Rowsthorn has lashed out at the New South Wales and Queensland governments, saying that backing another foreign terminal operator to enter major ports with government subsidy would be “bloody rude” to existing operators.     

Mr Rowsthorn said introducing a third operator to Sydney’s Port Botany and Brisbane Fisherman Islands would work against the current operators who struggle to protect themselves.

“I sit here as the only Australian stevedore and say that’s pretty bloody rude, because we do a good job and we’ve got a lot of Australians who work here,” he said.

“I’ll put the national cap on here and say fair’s fair, and any new operator should be subject to the same rentals and any subsidies that are suggested, we just go nuts over.”

The $1 billion Port Botany expansion project began last month, which will double the port’s capacity upon completion.

Asciano, which owns the sole Australian stevedore, Patrick, has reportedly invested over $120 million to upgrade the port’s terminal over the past three years.

Mr Rowsthorn has recently announced Port Botany moved a record of more than one million TEU in the 2007/08 fiscal year.

Amid speculations over a US consortium-led takeover, the company has also announced its 2007/08 full year results, which include an increase in operating revenue of five per cent to $2.9 billion, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 10.1 per cent to $677.7 million.

Assessing its operating business units as performing well overall during the year, with the Patrick ports business and Pacific National achieving strong outcomes, Mr Rowsthorn said the company expects another year of strong performance in the next fiscal year.

The company said that it will initiate a process starting this December to partially monetise one or more of its operating businesses, either by way of a partial sale or a structured transaction.

“We believe all of our business will continue to grow and generate attractive returns for our security holders,” he said.

Asciano dismisses $2.9 billion takeover approach

Asciano has dismissed a $2.9 billion takeover offer from a Texas-based consortium, saying it undervalues its business.

The rejection came shortly after the Australian rail and ports operator has announced that it has received “an unsolicited non-binding indicative proposal” from Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and Global Infrastructure Partners to acquire 100 per cent of the issued securities of the company through a scheme of arrangement.

“The proposal includes a cash alternative of $4.40 per Asciano security. There is a scrip alternative of unlisted securities in a bidding company,” the company said in an Australian stock exchange (ASX) statement.

Fuelled by speculations about the bid, the company’s shares sharply rose 68 cents to $4.83, surpassing the TPG-led consortium’s offer.

Responding to queries from the ASX on a dramatic increase in its share price, the company said: "Asciano remains aware of ongoing media speculation regarding the potential for Asciano to raise additional equity and/or to sell assets.

"Asciano continues to assess a range of options and consider a range of factors in determining the optimum financing strategy for future growth."

Analysts said the price proposed in the bid was too low, and the current price of the company’s stock does not reflect its potential value. 

Angus Gluskie, a portfolio manager at White Funds Management, said the TPG offer was “a very low ball bid.”

“On most analysts’ numbers you can also see the underlying assets are worth significantly more than the current share price. On our numbers, there is still several dollars in it,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“As often happens when people lose sight of the fundamental value of the asset, an opportunity arises. It’s a minor surprise but it makes a lot of sense.”

The report on the company’s full year results is expected to be released on August 6.

TPG makes a $1 billion move on Asciano

Private equity consortium TPG has reportedly made a $1 billion share offer to Asciano, after its initial takeover proposal was thwarted three months ago.

According to The Australian Financial Review, TPG founder David Bonderman has recently flown from the US to Melbourne to put another proposal to buy more than $1 billion in Asciano shares.

The Texas-based consortium of TPG Capital and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) initially approached Asciano this August with a $2.9 billion “non-binding” offer, but the company rebuffed the proposal, saying the bid underestimated its true value.

At the company’s annual general meeting held two weeks ago, Asciano chairman Tim Poole had said: “The board absolutely believes that the current market price of Asciano securities in no way reflects the underlying value of Asciano’s businesses, in the same way that the indicative offer from TPG and GIP failed to recognise that true value.”

Asciano’s shares are now languishing at around $2.15, less than half of the takeover offer of $4.40 per security.

The paper said the cash-strapped company was likely to reject the new offer again as it intended to push through with its plans to raise $ 1 billion by asset sales or monetising.

It attempted to ease its debt burden through the underwritten security purchase plan in September, but secured only 10 per cent of the initial target.

Asciano, which owns some of Australia’s major transport assets including Pacific National, is reported to have a market value of $1.5 billion, while its debt amounts to almost $4.5 billion.

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