AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Patrick’s PN move rejected, but row remains unsolved

<p>Independent arbitrator John Clarke, QC ,has rejected Patrick Corp’s resolution to the board of Pacific National to trigger the joint venture’s deadlock procedure, describing it as a "flawed process" and awarding Toll Holdings the costs of the hearing. </p> <p>However, Mr Clarke stopped short of making any judgement over the actual dispute between Patrick and Toll over rail contracts in Queensland. </p> <p>"I am prepared to accept that there has been a breakdown, the degree of which I am unable to judge but, in my opinion, for reasons I have already given, neither the detailed facts of the dispute nor the seriousness of the dispute addresses the present question" Mr Clarke said. </p> <p>"It focuses on the terms of the resolution and requires the exercise of judgment whether the activity demanded by the resolution is material to the stated aspects of the company group."</p> <p>Mr Clarke said most of the evidence Patrick presented on the breakdown of the relationship was relevant only as background to his decision on the procedure. </p> <p>The arbitration reveals that Patrick returned to it as late as yesterday morning (Tuesday, November 8) with media reports of comments by Toll managing director Paul Little, allegedly suggesting that the relationship was now dysfunctional. </p> <p>However, Mr Clarke again rejected these as not relevant.</p> <p>A Toll spokesman said Mr Clarke’s conclusions confirmed that Patrick’s claims were nothing more than an ill-conceived takeover defence strategy. </p> <p>"The whole saga has been designed to disrupt &#8211 unsuccessfully I might add &#8211 the operations of what has been and remains a very successful business for both Toll and Patrick," the spokesman said. </p> <p>A Patrick spokesman said the dispute "remains on foot and unresolved". </p> <p>In a statement, the company said: "The arbitrator narrowly confined his decision to the technical construction of the resolution that deadlocked the Pacific National board two months ago."</p> <p>"The decision supported neither Patrick’s or Toll’s position with regards to the facts of the serious dispute which had destroyed the relationship between the Pacific National shareholders."</p> <br />