Fatal crash casts doubt on transport float
The company involved in the tanker explosion that killed two people in Sydney's north last week is pushing ahead with plans to raise $155 million from investors.
It has emerged that McAleese Transport's oil hauling business, a division called Cootes Transport - the owner of the tanker that crashed - contributes up to a third of the group's overall revenues.
Fund managers expressed doubts on Monday about whether this week's McAleese Transport book-build would get off the ground, with one describing as a "deal breaker" news that 36 more trucks were grounded over the weekend in Victoria.
But a spokesman for McAleese Transport confirmed the company was sticking to its plan to raise $155 million from investors this week, before pushing to list on the stock exchange in November.
"The company is continuing with its planned schedule," a spokesman said.
The fact the trucks' mechanical problems had emerged gave investors the chance to reassess the transport company before the float, he said.
But Geoff Wilson, from Wilson Asset Management, said the problems besetting the company's trucks did not change his view of the McAleese management team, nor of the potential benefits of investing in the company.
He said he would be participating in the offer this week.
"There's obviously some mechanical problems [with the trucks], and I think it's incredibly important that the company gets on top of them," Mr Wilson said.
"But Mark Rowsthorn [McAleese chairman] is a seasoned professional in the transport industry so he would know exactly what needs to be done and [then] do it."
Mr Wilson said McAleese had an investment program that aimed to bring down the average age of the company's fleet of trucks.
The book-build is being backed by Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Macquarie, none of which could be reached for comment.
NSW authorities released new figures on Monday, saying eight trucks had been grounded in the state following the crash.
The NSW Roads and Maritime Services released an updated defects list saying 211 heavy vehicles from Cootes Transport had been inspected, 174 notices issued with about a third for major defects such as brake, steering and suspension faults.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said state authorities did not know if anyone would be held responsible for the accident at this stage.
"Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police are continuing investigations into Cootes Transport heavy vehicle defects on NSW roads," the spokesman said.
"When investigations are complete, prosecutions will be considered for breaching vehicle standards requirements."
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