AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Toll pops the question to Tranz Rail shareholders

<p>Toll Holdings will make a takeover offer for New Zealand operator Tranz Rail, the company reported late yesterday (Thursday, May 29).</p> <p>Toll finally laid its cards on the table &#8211 after more than a week of deliberation and market speculation &#8211 with an offer of NZ75 cents a share.</p> <p>The offer is remarkably similar to Rail America’s abandoned NZ75-cents-a-share bid in valuing the total share capital at about NZ$158m and in agreeing to assume lease and debt commitments.</p> <p>Toll is also insisting that Tranz Rail cease disposing of its businesses and assets.</p> <p>However, the most important difference with the Rail America offer is that Toll is aiming for a majority of shareholders (50%), while Rail America insisted on a 90% acceptance.</p> <p>Toll has already purchased at least 10.1% of Tranz Rail’s shares.</p> <p>Toll managing director Paul Little said he believes the proposed offer will be attractive to shareholders and offers "full and fair value".</p> <p> "Tranz Rail’s business operations and assets are good quality and provide a strong platform to create an efficient and competitive transport capability throughout New Zealand," Mr Little said.</p> <p>He said the takeover would complement Toll’s existing operations in New Zealand and the company’s multi-modal capabilities and capacity to invest would improve service levels for Tranz Rail customers and New Zealand generally.</p> <p>Australian markets reacted favourably to Toll’s decision, pushing the company share price up 17 cents to $7.21 this morning before settling around $7.16 just after midday. </p> <p>In New Zealand, Tranz Rail shares dropped from the NZ88 cent closing price yesterday to NZ83 cents. </p> <br />