UPDATE 2-Australian regulator waves through Asciano buyout

Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:31pm EDT
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* Deal still needs FIRB approval

* Deal "not likely" to substantially lessen competition - ACCC

* Asciano shares up 1 pct, Qube hits 2-mth high (Updates to add fund manager comment, Qube shares)

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY, July 21 (Reuters) - Australia's antitrust watchdog on Thursday gave the green light to a A$9.1 billion ($6.79 billion) buyout of rail freight giant Asciano Ltd by a global consortium led by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been concerned the deal would give Asciano's new owners, which include Australian stevedoring company Qube Holdings Ltd , too much control of the freight market.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the regulator had concluded there was "not likely to be a substantial lessening of competition in any market" after the deal was restructured to address officials' concerns.

Investors sent Qube shares to a two-month high of A$2.505 on the news. At 0120 GMT, they were up 3.2 percent at A$2.44 in a firm Australian market. Asciano shares were 0.9 percent higher in late morning trades.

"To come through with no objections, no further delays, was a little bit of a surprise," said John Corr, chief investment officer at Aurora Funds Management.   Continued...