Report: Carlyle joins race for Asciano(2)

The Carlyle Group has reportedly submitted a bid for Asciano. Other private equity firms to have submitted bids include TPG and GIP, which have been trying to buy the Australian transport infrastructure company since last year.

The Carlyle Group, TPG and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) are reportedly three among four entities vying to acquire Asciano in its entirety or part of its assets. The identity of the fourth bidder is still unclear.

Asciano expects to announce the preferred bidder by 30 June, according to Reuters.
In August 2008, Asciano rejected a joint takeover offer worth A$2.7 billion ($2.1 billion; €1.5 billion) from TPG and GIP, saying that the offer was too low and undervalued the company’s business.

In May this year, it was reported that GIP left the TPG-led consortium and was likely to launch a bid of its own as it was interested in acquiring only parts of Asciano's business while the TPG-led consortium wanted to buy it in its entirety.

Asciano owns and manages Pacific National rail operations and Patrick ports. Pacific National provides bulk haulage services for coal, grain and bulk industrial products, and has more than 600 locomotives and 14,000 wagons. Patrick’s ports and stevedoring business involves the operation of container terminals in four of Australian container ports.

Asciano, Australia’s largest railway and port operator, is riddled with debt and owes A$4.6 billion to creditors. It is also considering other means to address its problems with debt besides a sale, a source told Reuters.

TPG, GIP and Asciano did not respond to a request for comment. Carlyle could not be reached by press time.