AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Speculation turns to Patrick’s rights over PN share

<p>Babcock and Brown Infrastructure yesterday (Tuesday, March 14) played down any interest it might have in taking up 50% of Pacific National, as speculation mounted over how Patrick Corp would play its cards on its pre-emptive rights to the half-stake in the rail operator. </p> <p>This could effectively block or delay Toll Holdings from making its key undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.</p> <p>Patrick is understood to have the right of last refusal on Toll’s share, with Toll likely to be careful in structuring a sale elsewhere to avoid triggering the rights off before Patrick is under its control. </p> <p>It is almost certain that Patrick will be seeking to use the pre-emptive right.</p> <p>However, Toll sources said that the company did not have to go through with the undertakings until the takeover of Patrick had been completed. </p> <p>Patrick is also seeking a merger or takeover offer of its own to trump Toll, such as a domestic merger with Linfox or a fresh partner from overseas to put the company beyond Toll’s reach. </p> <p>Hutchison Ports last month made its first foray into Australasia with a joint venture to run the New Zealand port of Lytellton.</p> <p>Toll shares dropped off slightly yesterday as the market weighed up the concessions that Toll has made to the ACCC. </p> <p>These effectively include a new competitor against Toll’s remaining share of Pacific National, which will come pre-equipped with a daily east-west service and valuable access to the South Dynon and Chullora terminals in Sydney and Melbourne. </p> <br />