CANADIAN National confirmed on July 14 that it had completed its C$1·1bn takeover of BC Rail under a ’partnership agreement’ with the British Columbia government. The deal had been cleared by Canada’s Competition Bureau on July 2.

Under the agreement announced on November 25 2003 (RG 1.04 p6), CN is acquiring BC Rail Ltd and the BC Rail Partnership, with the right to operate the provincially-owned 2400 km network under a long-term lease. Provincial legislation to authorise the deal was passed in December.

CN President & CEO E Hunter Harrison said that CN would integrate BCRail step by step, noting that ’we brought Illinois Central and Wisconsin Central into the CN family in a flawless fashion and we expect nothing less in our integration of BC Rail.’

The purchase was partially funded from a US$800m debt offering launched by CN on July 6. Comprising US$300m of 4·25% notes due in 2009 and US$500m of 6·25% debentures maturing in 2034, the offering was also intended to help fund CN’s acquisition of Great Lakes Transportation, which was completed in May.