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HAMILTON, Bermuda:  Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP), owner of 30 ports, toll roads and rail operations in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia, is to acquire a 55 percent shareholding in Australian port and rail operator Asciano for US$2.8 billion.

Together with BIP-managed funds and those of other institutional and individual investors totaling a further 45 percent, the collective 'Brookfield Consortium' is purchasing 100 percent of Asciano for US$6.6 billion.

Brookfield Asciano"This transaction enables us to acquire premier transport infrastructure assets in a geography we know well and establish two leading global platforms, with solid long-term prospects," said Sam Pollock, CEO of BIP. "Combining Asciano's Australian container terminals with our existing assets in North America and Europe provides the foundation for a global container platform.

"In addition, Asciano's leading above-rail operations, together with our Australian and Brazilian logistics businesses, create a powerful, international rail logistics business."

Asciano's business includes container terminal operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth that have a capacity of approximately 4.9 million TEUs; port, terminal and supply chain services; and nationwide Australia rail operations with the capacity to move 180 million tonnes of freight across mineral and bulk haulage, steel and intermodal sectors.

BIP said Asciano's Australian container terminals will complement its existing footprint in California and the UK; more than double existing capacity in the Asia Pacific region; and will enable BIP to offer new clients single supplier access to key global markets.

Asciano plans to hold a shareholdings' meeting in November to approve the deal that requires 75 percent voter confirmation as well a green light from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission; the (Australian) Foreign Investment Review Board and the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

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