AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Market digests Toll, InCo plan

<p>Queensland Rail wasted no time letting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission know its position on the planned vertical separation of Toll Holdings, asking &#8220when is an undertaking not an undertaking?&#8221.</p> <p>QR was responding to yesterday’s (Wednesday, December 13) Toll Holdings restructure announcement. Under the proposed restructure the company would split in two, creating two top 50 ASX listed companies, Toll Holdings and Infrastructure Co.</p> <p>QR chief executive Bob Scheuber said Toll’s announcement raised some &#8220interesting&#8221 issues and concerns for QR, concerns he believed would be shared by others seeking a competitive national freight market. </p> <p>&#8220This could be seen as a Clayton’s restructure and I’d question how you could be truly satisfied that the two companies would be independent and not work closely together for their mutual benefit,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>QR was keen to take advantage of the concessions available, Mr Scheuber said, particularly the east-west starter’s kit to &#8220get another competitive force into the market as quickly as possible&#8221. </p> <p>&#8220It’s interesting now that Toll wants to withdraw this concession and even more interesting that QR has already been told by Toll on December 8 that it has been unsuccessful with its bid for the starter’s kit,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>In catch-up mode, newly returned shadow transport minister Martin Ferguson’s response to the move was guarded.</p> <p>"The Toll restructure to separate the company’s assets from its logistics operations is a commercial transaction and will ultimately be up to the shareholders to decide on,&#8221 Mr Ferguson. </p> <p>&#8220I am concerned to ensure there is no lessening of competition and over the coming weeks I will be examining in detail the implications of the proposal in this regard.&#8221 </p> <p>Stakeholders wishing to lodge comment with the ACCC on the proposed changes to the east-west rail assets have until December 20. Comments on all other aspects of the proposed variation are due by January 19, 2007. </p> <p>ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said yesterday that the commission would look favourably on a waiver to divest a 50% interest in PN if market inquiries did not raise issues of concern.</p> <br />