Asciano to raise $2 b

Asciano has entered a trading halt and announced a capital raising program to bring in minimum gross proceeds of $2 billion.

Transport infrastructure company Asciano has entered into a trading halt and announced an ambitious capital raising program to bring in minimum gross proceeds of $2 billion.

The company is using the trading halt as a final bid to refinance its $4.9 billion debt.

It had attempted to sell parts of its business, including its coal transport business, last year to raise $1 billion but depressed markets made it hard for it to realise value.

Asciano then decided to sell the whole company and last week received four formal bids, including proposals from private equity consortiums.

It had been aiming to announce an outcome by the end of this month. But a recent rebound in its shares encouraged it to opt for a share sale instead.

Asciano said it would issue its new securities at $1.10, compared with the $1.83 at which the securities closed on the Australian stock exchange on Friday.

“The decision to raise new equity was made only after considering the full range of factors,” Asciano chairman Tim Poole wrote in a statement.

“The board of Asciano believes that this transaction represents the best overall outcome for securityholders.”

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