AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ACCC approves QR and Babcock bid for ARG

<p>Queensland Rail and Babcock and Brown’s acquisition of Australian Railroad Group was &#8220unlikely to substantially lessen competition&#8221, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graham Samuel said in approving the move yesterday (Thursday, March 30).</p> <p>The ACCC will not oppose ARG joint venture partners Genesee and Wyoming and Wesfarmers’s proposal to sell its rail operations to QR National and sell the 43-year lease of the Western Australian track to Babcock and Brown, in a deal worth $1.3bn.</p> <p>Mr Samuel said QR had never won a bulk rail freight tender in WA and ARG had never won one in Queensland.</p> <p>&#8220There is limited evidence that bulk freight customers directly play QR and ARG off against each other in the tender process, particularly in recent years,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220This suggests that, in practice, competition between ARG and QR is very limited and is likely to remain so in the future.&#8221 </p> <p>Under the deal, Queensland Rail would own and operate ARG’s above rail operations in WA, as well as a service in New South Wales and a Melbourne-Adelaide operation.</p> <p>Babcock &#38 Brown would own and operate ARG’s below rail business &#8211 specifically track and infrastructure &#8211 in WA, which still has 43-years to go on a lease from the State Government.</p> <br />