Asciano shares in freefall

Australia’s biggest port and rail operator Asciano Group Ltd said it cannot explain the recent fall in its stock price of almost 20 per cent, and is still expecting earning for this financial year.
“Asciano is not aware of any information concerning it which, if know, could be an explanation for recent trading in securities in Asicano,” the company said in a statement.
While Asciano securities sank 65 cent to $2.72 representing a 19.29 per cent fall, the company said earnings guidance for the year to June 30 this year has stated its EBITA excluding significant items of between $650 million to $660 million.
“Asciano continues to expect earnings for the financial year to June 30, 2008 to be within this range,” it said.

The company is expected to announce several significant items, including a writedown in the carrying value of Asciano’s rail subsidiary Pacific National export grain haulage assets, and demerger and establishment costs, the AAP reported.

A realised loss of about $100 million on the sale of its stake in pallets provider Brambles Ltd is also expected to be a significant item.
The company said it had advised the market of a number of growth initiatives, such as proposed entry into the Queensland coal haulage market and expansion of its Fisherman Islands container terminal in Brisbane.
“Asciano is aware of recent media speculation regarding the potential for Asciano to raise additional equity,” it said.
“No decision has been made in respect of any preferred funding option.”

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