Money ACCC fears Transurban will gain too much advantage from WestConnex buy

12:06  17 may  2018
12:06  17 may  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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Will it buy WestConnex too ? Skip to sections navigation Skip to content Skip to footer. Within the last decade, Transurban ’s share price has almost doubled, giving it a market value of more than billion.

Further, a “ leaked document shows the government will gain (only) a 30 per cent share in extra revenue from WestConnex only when the amount generated by It let Transurban loose to buy other toll roads around the country and overseas, and it also let them off the hook ACCC where are you?)

The ACCC has concerns about Transurban gaining majority control of WestConnex.© Steven Siewert The ACCC has concerns about Transurban gaining majority control of WestConnex.

The competition watchdog fears that Transurban's bid to buy a majority stake in Sydney's $16.8 billion WestConnex toll road will give it too much advantage when competing for future projects.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's concerns complicate the Berejiklian government's imminent privatisation of the majority of WestConnex within the next three months.

Releasing the regulator's preliminary views on the proposed acquisition, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Transurban already had “significant incumbency advantages” when competing for future toll road projects.

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Transurban locks in westconnex partners, eyes on traffic. Plant-animal Communication By Graeme D Ruxton H Transurban locks in WestConnex partners, eyes on. Martin SchaeferSong Of Myself Whitman Green Edition traffic

Price monitoring by the ACCC . Commercial arrangements with users renegotiated periodically. POTENTIAL FUTURE DEVELOPMENT • Preparing for WestConnex . Statutory Transurban Holdings Limited operating cash flow (includes cash inflow from M5 TNLs).

“We are concerned that the proposed acquisition may cement Transurban’s advantages when competing for future toll roads,” Mr Sims said.

Mr Sims said Australia's largest toll road company had access to highly detailed traffic data when bidding for new roads and was able to leverage its existing toll roads to offer “unique unsolicited proposals to state governments”.

Transurban has a stranglehold on Sydney's growing labyrinth of toll roads such as the Lane Cove Tunnel.© Bloomberg Transurban has a stranglehold on Sydney's growing labyrinth of toll roads such as the Lane Cove Tunnel. Transurban controls the rights to concessions on 15 of the 19 toll roads in Australia, and seven of the nine existing concessions in NSW.  Of the 95 kilometres of toll road in Sydney, the company has a majority stake in, or half owns, 99km including the M2, the M7, the M5 South West, the Eastern Distributor, and the Lane Cove and Cross City tunnels.

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Transurban has sought to dampen expectations it is in the box seat to buy a majority stake in WestConnex from the NSW government, citing the many toll roads it has snapped up from receivers for firesale prices as a sign of its unwillingness to overpay.

Mr Sims said Transurban had been awarded five toll road concessions or upgrades following unsolicited proposals to state governments, in exchange for increases or extensions of existing tolls.

“It is the only operator in the past 30 years who has been granted a toll road concession in Australia following an unsolicited proposal to a state government,” he said.

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Transurban 's next big Australian acquisition opportunity is not likely to emerge until the NSW government completes and sells its proposed WestConnex Mr Charlton said he did not expect any issues with getting ACCC approval, pointing out that governments set the pricing of tollroads via

To date, Transurban has been considered to be in the hot seat to buy the Sydney Motorway Most of the 33-kilometre WestConnex motorway will be underground. Mr Charlton stressed Transurban expects "significant competition " on WestConnex but plans to remain financially disciplined.

The regulator is also concerned about the effects of a successful Transurban bid for WestConnex on competition between toll roads in Sydney. It is examining whether motorists in Sydney could switch between existing Transurban toll roads and WestConnex for certain trips.

“If there is potential competition between WestConnex and Transurban’s existing toll roads, motorists might lose the benefits from that competition if the acquisition goes ahead,” Mr Sims said.

The regulator has called for submission's in response to the release of its statement of issues, and it plans to make a final decision on July 19.

Transurban and its large partners – AustralianSuper, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – have been vying for the past year with two other consortiums for a majority stake WestConnex. The state government hopes to complete the sale by early August, which will easily be the biggest transaction of transport infrastructure in Australia this year.

Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton said the release of the statement of issues was a recognised step in the regulator's informal merger review process.

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Sydney, New South Wales under attack from WestConnex . It was also discovered that the private sector was less likely to receive a “secrecy” excuse to block their access to government documents, and were more likely than any other group to gain access.

NOW: more than 10,000 # WestCONnex objections delivered to NSW Planning. Will it buy WestConnex too ? WestConnex sale on track for August despite ACCC delaying Transurban findings.

“As we have done on previous acquisitions, we will continue to work with the ACCC to enable them to complete their review,” he said.

The regulator's findings come as the government short-listed two consortiums to build an underground interchange at Rozelle in the city's inner west for the third stage of WestConnex.

One is a consortium of John Holland, CPP Contractors and Lend Lease, and the other comprises Italian firm Salini Impregilo, Clough Projects and Samsung C&T.

The contract for the interchange will also include a 1.1-km tunnel from near the Iron Cove Bridge to the underground junction.

Both the Iron Cove Link and the Rozelle interchange are due to open to motorists a year after twin 7.5-km tunnels between Haberfield and St Peters are completed in late 2022.

The $7.2 billion third and final stage of WestConnex gained government planning approval last month, despite the fact that the final shape of the Rozelle interchange had yet to be decided.

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