AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Toll slams Patrick’s defence&semicolan more court action on Friday

<p>The rhetoric on both sides has soared after Patrick Corp’s board yesterday (March 27) rejected Toll Holdings’s increased bid for Patrick, and launched more legal action &#8211 this time to prevent Toll from carrying out its undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to sell its half stake in Pacific National.</p> <p>The case, which Patrick says is a breach of the Pacific National joint venture contract, is due to be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday (March 31). </p> <p>With no sign of the battle ending soon, Toll managing director Paul Little said Patrick was "trying to move the goal posts" by asking Lonergan Edwards to review its valuation of Patrick. </p> <p>"Toll places on record now that it will not accept any last-minute changes in desk top valuations to have any credibility," he said. </p> <p>Mr Little said Patrick was also trying to use DP World’s purchase of P&#38O to justify a higher price for it, when Toll was actually offering more for a lower growth Australian-based ports business. </p> <p>Rumours continue to swirl of a deal under construction that would bring Macquarie Bank and Linfox into Patrick as controlling or major interests.</p> <p>However, this might depend on the ACCC approving Patrick’s purchase of FCL Interstate Transport Services, which would combine more of the Linfox road volumes on Patrick-based rail services. </p> <p>Patrick has court actions running both to break up Pacific National and to exercise rights it claims under the shareholders agreement to over half of Pacific National’s intermodal capacity between the capital cities.</p> <p>But Toll dismissed the plan, saying Patrick was trying to create the impression of an alternative strategy out "of unspecified discussions with Linfox or others about a possible future acquisition or acquisitions at an unspecified price on unspecified terms, following a possible break-up of Pacific National on an unspecified basis </p> <p>&#8220If Patrick shareholders wish to vote for such a plan, Toll wishes them well."</p> <p>Yesterday, Patrick’s Chris Corrigan was equally keen to flush out Toll’s plans to sell off Pacific National, Virgin Blue and other assets it has promised to sell. </p> <p>"It beggars belief that Toll has no plans, no intentions, no handshakes with other parties which should properly be revealed to Patrick shareholders," Mr Corrigan said. </p> <p>&#8220I don’t believe them and I suspect other Patrick shareholders won’t believe them either.&#8221</p> <p>The Toll offer, which equated to $7.82 on Toll’s March 17 close of $14.05 plus up to $2.20 in cash, valuing Patrick at around $5.4 billion remains well behind Patrick’s share price in this morning’s trade at $8.10, with Toll scrip continuing to fall this morning, trading at $13.56 around 11 o’clock. </p> <p>Analysts have targeted $8 per share for Patrick.</p> <p>Mr Little said share prices were being affected by arbitrage activity, and warned that Toll "will not acquire Patrick at any price".</p> <br />