(Corrects headline to show talks are about a stake sale)
SYDNEY, July 18 Australia's Asciano Ltd
said it is in talks to sell a stake in its ports and logistics
business, with media reporting state-run China Merchants Group
Ltd is interested and that a deal may be worth up to A$1.1
billion ($1 billion).
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on
Friday, Asciano said it "has been, and continues to be, in
discussions with third parties in relation to a potential sale
of a non-controlling interest in its Terminals & Logistics
Discussions are preliminary and no agreement has been
reached with any parties at this stage, it said.
Asciano shares rose 4.4 percent to A$5.99, their highest
level in eight months.
Chinese firms are increasingly keen on Australian logistics
assets which are seen as reliable long term investments with
predictable returns. In April, China Merchants Group Ltd
teamed with Australia's Hastings Funds Management to
buy Port of Newcastle from the New South Wales state government
for A$1.75 billion.
The Wall Street Journal said Goldman Sachs was advising
Asciano. Representatives for China Merchants and Goldman Sachs
were not immediately available for comment.
In a June 19 statement, Asciano said it is considering
"value-adding partnership solutions" for the terminals business
but it "will not do this at any price".
($1 = 1.0697 Australian Dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)