DataRoom AM: Glencore's iron will

Glencore’s appetite for iron ore has reportedly led it to seek out Cliffs Natural Resources, while Westpac’s Hastings Funds Management snaps up rail assets in the UK.

BHP Billiton’s point man for the Rio Tinto takeover can’t understand what Glencore’s up to, as Ivan Glasenberg talks further about iron ore deals.

Meanwhile, Westpac’s Hastings has nabbed a train asset in the UK as part of a consortium, Rod Sims thinks the Snowy Hydro scheme should be privatised and there’s IPO news aplenty with APN Outdoor, Simonds Property Group and Green’s General Foods.

Alberto Calderon says a tie-up between Glencore International and Rio Tinto wouldn’t do much to change the “race to the bottom” in the iron ore market, where producers push as much product as they can to secure market share.

Mr Calderon, who led BHP’s strategy team for the unsuccessful run at Rio Tinto, made the comments to the Nine Network on Sunday. He also questioned the logic behind Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg’s attempt to take over a larger rival in Rio.

Meanwhile, Dow Jones Newswires reports Glasenberg called US miner Cliffs Natural Resources about its Australian iron ore assets.

The Australian reports Westpac’s Hastings Funds Management is part of a consortium that’s successfully snared the UK’s Porterbrook Rail Finance, which owns almost a third of Britain’s trains, for more than £2 billion ($A3.7bn).

Canada’s Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Germany’s Allianz Capital Partners and France’s EDF Invest were the other team members who’ve grabbed the asset at a time when infrastructure opportunities are highly sought after.

Rod Sims, Australia’s leading consumer watchdog, will tell an audience today the Snowy Hydro scheme would compete better with the big three energy players if it was privatised.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman will make the case today in a speech, according to The Australian, where he will also warn the Queensland energy sector is one of the most concentrated in the country and a topic of focus for the regulator.

In IPO news, APN Outdoor has priced its shares at $2.55 a piece, putting it in line for a $425 million float and a hefty payday for owner Quadrant Private Equity.

The company will list on the ASX in the second week of November, with the deal fully underwritten by Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Meanwhile, Simonds Property Group is heading for a $269.5 million listing, according to The Australian Financial Review. The IPO is apparently priced at 13.2 times forecast earnings per share at $1.78 each.

The newspaper reports fund managers were working through Simonds’ company presentation over the weekend, where some eyebrows were raised at the company’s growth targets.

The AFR also reports Green’s General Foods executives are tipped to meet fund managers in the lead up to a $120 million IPO. Moelis & Co and Morgans Financial have been tapped to run the float for the food producer and distributor.

And online retailer AussieCommerce is facing legal action from a former employee as the company hopes to float on the ASX, The Australian reports.

It is alleged founders Adam Schwab and Jeremy Same engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in a partial sale of the business.

And in post-listing news, The Australian reports Westfield’s recently relaunched Scentre Group is believed to be jostling with the likely buyer of its New Zealand centres over the price it charges to manage the sites.

Government Investment Corporation of Singapore is the one considered most likely to buy the sites Scentre manages. As is often the case, fees are thought to be a sticking point.

In foreign investment news, the federal government will tweak the ‘Significant Investor’ visa program inherited from the previous Labor government, where investors with $5 million to invest over four years would get special visas, to push them towards areas of national priority.

The program comes as the vice-president of the peak Australia-Japan business body says Australia is becoming a less attractive place to invest thanks to the divisive political climate, minor party control of the Senate, NSW corruption scandals, the rise of community campaigns, high currency, high wages and red and green tape.

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