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The tyrekickers are slowly coming out to play at the country’s No.3 rail transport company One Rail Australia.
One week after One Rail’s owners shot off a 10-page flyer to interested parties, it is understood a handful of infrastructure types have opened files and are assessing whether to get involved in the looming auction.
One Rail Australia's business includes carrying coal in the Hunter Valley region of NSW for miner Glencore. Dean Osland
As expected, the early mainstream interest lies in One Rail’s non-coal business, which owns track and ferries freight north/south through the centre of Australia.
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, which has a big bucket of cash and a wide mandate, is understood to be taking an early look. It typically targets hands-on infrastructure investments, rather than passive stakes, has more freedom than some of its rivals.
Other financial investors sniffing around include domestic infrastructure group QIC Ltd. Rail heavyweight Pacific National, which is owned by US infrastructure firm GIP and a bunch of pension/sovereign wealth funds, is also bound to be interested, but would need to mount a compelling case with the corporate regulator.
It’s harder to find any local parties looking at One Rail’s other half, its $130 million-a-year coal haulage unit, that carries coal for Glencore and Yancoal in the Hunter Valley.
One Rail’s owners, Macquarie’s MIRA and Dutch fund PGGM, have Macquarie Capital and Credit Suisse drumming up interest ahead of an auction.
The bankers sent a flyer to potential acquirers last week, as reported by Street Talk, and made it clear the owners were willing to consider splitting the business in two if it meant a higher price and/or cleaner transaction.
The auction’s expected to be formally underway next month, when a data room is opened to bidders.
This article first appeared on www.afr.com
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