One Rail train

AUSTRALIA: Aurizon expects to complete its acquisition of One Rail by the end of July, following a qualified approval of the deal by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Aurizon announced in October 2021 that it had reached a A$2·35bn agreement to acquire One Rail, the former Genesee & Wyoming Australia business which had been spun off to Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets and PGGM in 2019.

ACC’s approval is dependent on a court-enforceable undertaking that Aurizon will divest One Rail’s East Coast business to ensure continued competition in the coal haulage market. The undertaking allows Aurizon to sell the business either by a trade sale or by demerging it as a new separate ASX-listed entity.

Aurizon will retain One Rail’s bulk haulage operations and rail network assets in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

ACCC had been concerned that the proposed acquisition would reduce competition and lead to higher prices or decreased service levels in the New South Wales and Queensland coal haulage markets, where Aurizon, Pacific National and One Rail currently compete

‘The divesture ensures that there will remain three main suppliers’, ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb explained on July 14.

‘We are also satisfied that the divestment of One Rail’s east coast business would preserve it as a potential competitor to Aurizon for the supply of non-coal bulk rail haulage in the future, and Aurizon would continue to be constrained by a number of existing bulk rail haulage competitors.’