No decision on funding options yet says Asciano

Rail and ports operator Asciano Group says it has made no decision yet on its future funding options to expand some of its operations.

The company was responding to a query from the Australian stock exchange about a sharp rise in the company’s share price on Thursday.

Asciano shares closed 58 cents, or 15.8 per cent, higher at $4.25, after peaking at $4.39.

Asciano says the speculation was about a potential equity or sale of assets.

“No decision has been made in respect of any preferred funding option,” it says.

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

Asciano reports its full year results on August 6.

Earlier this month, Asciano affirmed its guidance for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, excluding significant, of $650 million to $660 million for the 2007/08 year.

Asciano also says it expects to announce a number of significant items within its results.

These are expected to include a writedown in the carrying value of Asciano’s Pacific National export grain haulage assets, costs related to the restructure of the grains business, and demerger and establishment costs – all of which were disclosed in Asciano’s first half results.

The company also expects to announce a realised loss on the sale of its stake in pallets provider, Brambles Ltd, of about $100 million, as a significant item.

Asciano’s growth initiatives include entry into the Queensland coal haulage market, a proposed investment in the Saudi Landbridge project, and expansion of its Fisherman Islands container terminal in Brisbane.

The Saudi Landbridge project will connect the Saudi city of Riyadh with the major port cities of Jeddah and Dammam with the construction of more than 1,000 kilometres of rail track.

Options for financing these projects could involve the sale of existing businesses or assets, partnerships or a capital raising.

Source: IndustrySearch

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