LAST MONTH saw the start of trading in shares of Asciano, after Toll Holdings won approval from its shareholders on May 28 to split the giant Australian freight conglomerate into separate infrastructure and operating companies.

Under the deal each Toll shareholder received a matching share in Asciano, which has been formed as the holding company for port operator Patrick and rail operator Pacific National, with assets worth more than A$8bn. The restructuring vote was approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria on June 1 and submitted to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission four days later.

The restructuring, which leaves Toll as a dedicated transport and logistics company, follows the decision of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to accept a variation of the undertakings which Toll had given to ensure competition following its takeover of Patrick Group. ACCC had originally demanded that Toll should sell a 50% stake in Pacific National to widen access to rail services. Toll argued that divesting PN intact as part of Asciano would give all shippers equal access to the rail network.

Paul Little remains Managing Director of Toll Group, while Mark Rowsthorne becomes Managing Director & CEO of Asciano.