Carlyle to buy $116.5m stake in Qube Logistics

Carlyle Group’s $1.15bn infrastructure fund will acquire a 15 percent stake in an Australian logistics company affiliated with Kaplan Funds.

Carlyle Infrastructure Partners has agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in Qube Logistics, an Australian ports, rail and freight logistics company, for about $116.5 million.

Carlyle has agreed to acquire up to 91.4 million shares of Qube in two steps, according to a statement. By 10 March, Carlyle will acquire 36.3 million shares worth $46.3 million, and will later acquire about 55.1 million shares worth $70.3 million, pending approvals from shareholders and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Qube’s investment manager is Kaplan Funds, and the company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2007 as KFM Diversified Infrastructure and Logistics Fund, according to Qube’s website. Since then, the company says it has “more than doubled in size and progressed from being an investment fund towards becoming a focused operating logistics business”.

It is also part of a consortium called the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance, which is looking to develop a terminal at Moorebank, near Sydney, according to the consortium’s website.

Qube said in a statement that “the broader Carlyle Group has an extensive global network and is particularly strong in Asia which should provide new opportunities for Qube and its logistics businesses”.

Carlyle’s investment comes as Qube is reportedly weighing a bid for Asciano, a transport infrastructure company that owns Australian rail and ports businesses. Asciano has previously resisted private equity takeover offers, including rejecting a A$2.9 billion bid from TPG and Global Infrastructure Partners in 2008. The Carlyle Group reportedly submitted a bid for Asciano as well.

Qube was last trading at A$1.365 ($1.367; €0.99), slightly above the agreed-upon sale price of $1.275.

Carlyle Infrastructure Partners closed its $1.15 billion fund in November 2007. The fund’s previous investments include Illinois freight container-handling company ITS Technology and Logistics, and Park Water, a privately-owned California water company. The fund is also part of a joint venture that secured 35-year concessions to operate and maintain 23 service stops in Connecticut.