Tanker crash firm seeks new funding
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.
But 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 one-third of the group's overall revenues.
Fund managers expressed doubts on Monday about whether this week's McAleese Transport bookbuild 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 it 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," he said.
One fund manager expressed privately that the latest revelations of 36 grounded fuel tankers in Victoria ought to be a "deal breaker" for the company. The fact that the trucks' mechanical problems had emerged now gave investors the chance to reassess the transport company before the IPO, he said.
But Wilson Asset Management's Geoff Wilson 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 IPO 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," he said. "But [McAleese chairman] Mark Rowsthorn 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 bookbuild is backed by Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Macquarie.
NSW authorities released new figures on Monday indicating eight trucks had now been grounded in the state following the crash. The NSW Roads and Maritime Services released an updated defects list showing 211 heavy vehicles had been inspected and 174 notices issued, about a third of them involving major defects such as brake failures, steering and suspension faults.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said state authorities did not know if anyone would be held responsible for the tanker accident at this stage.
"Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police are continuing investigations into Cootes Transport heavy vehicle defects on NSW roads," he said.
"When investigations are complete, prosecutions will be considered for breaching vehicle standards requirements."