AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Patrick confirms Linfox talks and targets rail as priority

<p>Patrick Corp chairman Peter Scanlon has confirmed that Patrick has been in merger talks with Linfox, but said the company’s first priority was the break up of Pacific National joint venture. </p> <p>He told Patrick’s AGM this morning (Thursday, February 9) that both Patrick and Linfox, "conceptually see benefits in bringing the businesses together", but he stressed there were no current talks "and no arrangements". </p> <p>"Our biggest priority is Pacific National. Until we have done that, we will keep all options open," he said.</p> <p>However, Linfox could feed crucial linehaul rail volume for Patrick onto the competing baby versions of Pacific National likely to emerge from the breakup. </p> <p>Talks are understood to have taken place a month ago, and Patrick managing director Chris Corrigan said the company was interested in resuming them once other issues were settled.</p> <p>Mr Scanlon said that, "greater value can be created for Patrick shareholders in the medium term by separating the Pacific National assets and building our own competitive rail business which will be fully integrated with our ports".</p> <p>Describing both the Toll bid and the Pacific National joint venture as effectively finished, Mr Scanlon said that "it is clearly in the interest of all shareholders that Toll and Patrick should sit down and agree the dissolution of their partnership on sensible commercial terms". </p> <p>Mr Corrigan said Patrick was looking at "all avenues for ending the Pacific National business", and would pursue the purchase of FCL Interstate Transport Services and its domestic rail forwarding and terminals business. </p> <p>"We are relatively small in domestic moves with a big area to expand. We have a new business model from our port logistics business, and no legacy investments to be concerned with," Mr Corrigan said.</p> <p>He said the Patrick Autocar business now moved 50% of all new vehicles and provided a "logistics model we would like to move into other markets", with rail handling linehaul movement of containerised cars. </p> <br />