Toll acquisition of Patrick to create logistics powerhouse
Australian logistics company Toll Holding Ltd. said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire Australian ports and airport operator Patrick Corp. for A$5.81 billion ($4.23 billion), furthering Toll’s development into one of the world’s largest freight transportation companies.
Toll is in the process of acquiring a 60 percent stake in SembCorp. Logistics, a large Singapore-based logistics provider, for S$1.4 billion ($873 million).
Patrick finally agreed to the deal after an often contentious eight-month effort to block Toll’s hostile takeover bid. The Patrick board accepted the deal after Toll raised its cash and stock offer. Patrick shareholders would receive A$3 ($2.20) cash, plus 0.4 Toll shares for each Patrick share, Toll said in a statement. Toll could be paying as much as a A$2 billion ($1.5 billion) premium for Patrick, the Australian newspaper said. The final offer valued Patrick at A$8.26 ($6.01) per share compared to its close price Thursday of A$8.03 ($5.84), according to the Associated Press.
The deal gives Toll, which specialized in trucking and logistics, access to port facilities and ocean transport services. Patrick is Australia’s largest terminal operator and stevedore, and provides freight forwarding, customs brokerage and other services for importers and exporters. It also provides passenger and cargo ground handling at Australian airports, as well as road feeder services, and has majority control of Virgin Blue, the low-cost Australian airline started in cooperation with Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson.
To mollify Australian competition authorities, Toll will sell its half of the Pacific National freight railway which it co-owns with Patrick.
In an interview with Dow Jones news service, Toll Managing Director Paul Little said his company would focus on becoming the dominant provider of end-to-end logistics services in Asia.
The combined acquisitions of Patrick and SembCorp Logistics puts Toll in direct competition with UPS, FedEx, TNT and Deutsche Post’s DHL in the upper echelon of integrated logistics providers.