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Aurizon’s plans for a swift acquisition of haulage group One Rail Australia have stalled after the competition watchdog delayed a decision on the proposed $2.35 billion deal.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was due to announce on Thursday whether Aurizon could go ahead with the freight rail acquisition from Macquarie Asset Management and the Netherlands’ PGGM Infrastructure Fund, but has postponed its ruling, claiming it needs more information.
The regulator has not given a new decision date, saying only that it will announce one “in due course”. Aurizon declined to comment.
Aurizon wants to transport more bulk commodities like wheat to ports to diversify away from coal. James Davies
Aurizon had previously told investors that it expected to complete the One Rail deal in April if it secured approval from the ACCC in early March.
The acquisition is crucial to Aurizon’s plans to diversify away from coal. One Rail, which was formerly known as Genesee & Wyoming Australia, operates rail networks in South Australia, NSW and the Northern Territory and has coal and bulk haulage businesses.
To address competition concerns, Aurizon has told the ACCC that it will sell or demerge One Rail’s coal haulage operations in NSW and Queensland, and that it will operate the businesses separately with their own chief executive and management team until they are split off.
Aurizon wants to keep One Rail’s bulk haulage contracts for commodities like copper and iron ore as well as grain, boosting the contribution bulk haulage makes to group revenues to around 40 per cent.
This article first appeared on www.afr.com
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