Qube’s A$9bn rival bid for Asciano

The bidding for the Australian port and railway company heats up with Qube-led consortium’s A$9.02bn offer, against Brookfield’s A$8.9 billion offer.

Two consortium formed by international infrastructure investors and operators are competing to take over Asciano, a listed Melbourne-based infrastructure owners with a primary focus on ports and rail assets. 

Australian diversified logistics and infrastructure company, Qube Holdings (Qube), has submitted a non-binding indicative proposal to acquire all of the issued share capital of Asciano not already owned by the consortium it forms with Global Infrastructure Partner (GIP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Qube, which acquired a 19.9 percent stake in Asciano last month, is offering A$9.25 (€6.08; $6.52) for each Asciano share in a cash and scrip offer. 

Last week, the Australian subsidiary of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (Brookfield) acquired an approximate 14.9 percent interest in the company from the market, with economic interests in a further 4.3 percent. 

Brookfield, together with two institutional partners, also submitted a takeover proposal with a cash and stock offer currently valued at A$9.21 per share, or A$8.9 billion in total. Its proposal requires approval by at least 50.1 percent of Asciano’s shareholders and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“The [Qube] Proposal represents superior value to the conditional scheme of arrangement and conditional proposed takeover offer announced by Brookfield, particularly given the ‘red light’ issues announced by the ACCC on October 15, 2015,” said Asciano. 

Under the Qube proposal, GIP and CPPIB will acquire the rail business of Asciano and Qube will take the company’s Patrick container terminal business and its interest in Australian Amalgamated Terminals. Unlike the Brookfield scheme, Qube’s proposed transaction is not anticipated to be subject to ACCC approval. 

The Qube consortium is seeking due diligence to be completed by mid-December. 

According to Asciano’s statement, the board is considering the proposal, but in the absence of ‘a superior proposal capable of acceptance’, Brookfield’s proposal remains the optimum solution for its business and for shareholders.

ACCC decision on Brookfield proposal is expected to be announced on December 17. 

Qube is Australia’s largest integrated provider of import and export logistics services and operates divisions covering automotive, bulk and general stevedoring, landside logistics and strategic development assets. 

New York-based Independent infrastructure investor GIP has an affiliate in Sydney and manages approximately $15.4 billion for its investors. 

CPPIB, headquartered in Toronto, has its CPP Fund totalling C$268.6 billion (€188.5 billion; $202.4 billion), of which C$6.9 billion is invested in Australia, as at June 30, 2015.   

Brookfield Infrastructure is the listed infrastructure arm of Brookfield Asset Management, a global alternative asset manager with over $200 billion of assets under management.