The Board of Asciano has endorsed a joint venture take-over offer from Qube and Brookfield - but the deal will see Pacific National carved off and sold to a consortium of overseas investors.
The likely new owners of Pacific National will include Global Infrastructure Management, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, China's CIC Capital Corporation, Singapore sovereign wealth fund, GIC, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC).
National Secretary Bob Nanva has condemned the deal, calling it a blow for the rail sector that will diminish competition.
"Pacific National will be left with one hand tied behind its back, and therefore Aurizon will be even more dominant as the only vertically-integrated rail operator and infrastructure manager in the country," Bob says.
"All the Australian rail freight sector wants is a level playing field. Instead, we’re stuck with a mish-mish of regulatory frameworks for rail access across different jurisdictions.
"The Federal Government should have sorted this out and put in place a transparent and consistent national rail access regime.
"But due to the Federal Government neglect and inaction, the potential creation of a strong vertically-integrated competitor to Aurizon was strangled in a net of red tape.
"So much for the claim that Australia is 'open for business'. This is a disappointing day for the rail industry, and another opportunity lost due to Turnbull Government’s hopelessly confused approach to foreign investment and industry regulation."