AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Toll talks up Asia ahead of half yearly results

<p>Toll Holdings has paved the way for tomorrow’s (Tuesday, February 21) crucial half year results meeting by confirming it has revived talks with Singapore’s Sembcorp Logistics.</p> <p>In a stock exchange announcement this morning (Monday, February 20), Toll said it was one of a number of parties talking to Sembcorp and that no agreement had been negotiated. </p> <p>It said it had talked to a number of players in the region over the past two years. </p> <p><em>The Australian Financial Review</em> had earlier reported that Toll executives had been in Singapore, seeking to restart takeover talks for the Singapore company. </p> <p>Toll’s share price has fallen by up to 30% since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission knocked back its bid for Patrick Corp.</p> <p>Toll launched its bid for Patrick last August claiming that a merger with Patrick would allow it to expand in Asia. </p> <p>Toll had earlier retreated from talk of an imminent Asian purchase and it has since emerged that Toll had failed to talk Patrick into a joint bid for P&#38O’s worldwide port operations. The projected bid for all of P&#38O had followed an attempt to buy P&#38O’s European logistics operations. </p> <p>Analysts believe that Sembcorp would cost around $1.4bn, but also noted the Singapore government, through holding company Temasek, had a 31% stake in the company. </p> <p>Sembcorp earlier had a strategic alliance with European forwarding giant Kuehne + Nagel which was dissolved several years ago.</p> <p>Toll may also come under pressure to develop facilities in Asia as its major Australian retail clients increase and streamline their product sourcing from China. </p> <p>The <em> Review</em> also speculated that Toll may talk to PSA, Hutchison Whampoa or even AP M&#248ller Maersk, about making a joint bid for Patrick that would separate some of Patrick’s assets and answer ACCC concerns over domination of the transport market. </p> <br />