Friday 25th Sep, 2020

ACCC gives the go-ahead for Vossloh purchase of Austrak

Freight rail track - stock - credit Shutterstock (8)
Photo: Shutterstock

Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, has announced that it will not oppose rail track component manufacturer Vossloh Australia’s proposed acquisition of Austrak.

Vossloh signed a contract in August this year for the acquisition of Austrak, the largest manufacturer of concrete sleepers in Australia, with its owner, Laing O’Rourke. The ACCC commenced a review of the acquisition in September to determine whether it would enable the combined Vossloh-Austrak to lessen competition in rail fastenings and turnouts by foreclosing its rivals.

“There is no horizontal overlap between the products manufactured and supplied by Vossloh and Austrak in Australia. There are vertical links, however, and this is what the ACCC’s investigation focussed on,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

Featherston said that the ACCC’s inquiries indicate there are alternative manufacturers of sleepers and bearers in Australia and some imports.

“After speaking with a range of industry participants, we consider that existing manufacturers of sleepers and bearers could expand their offerings, including by increasing production or expanding their geographic presence,” he said.

In relation to fastening components, industry participants also indicated that there is a very strong competing supplier, whose products are approved for use in most rail tracks, and is likely to continue to constrain Vossloh post acquisition.

Vossloh is a subsidiary of Vossloh AG, a German rail technology company which manufactures and supplies rail infrastructure. In Australia, Vossloh supplies rail fastenings and switch systems, including turnouts which enable trains to move from one track to another.

Vossloh does not manufacture or supply sleepers in Australia. It supplies fastenings in Australia for use with slab track and does not currently supply fastenings for use in ballasted track.

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