Asciano to buy Port of Tauranga’s 50% stake in C3 for $70m

Asciano, Australia's largest national rail freight and ports operator, has exercised its right to acquire the other 50% of the C3 marshalling and stevedoring business in New Zealand for $70 million from Port of Tauranga.

C3, formally known as Toll Owens Ltd, operates at 13 ports throughout New Zealand. Port of Tauranga had offered to buy out Asciano at the same price and Asciano exercised its right under a so-called shootout clause of the joint venture.

"Our original desire to own 100% of C3 was prompted by the company's deteriorating financial performance and our inability as a 50% shareholder to make the changes necessary to reverse this trend," chief executive Mark Cairns says in a statement.

"The loss of C3 will have little impact on our future plans and we are pursuing opportunities that will enable us to continue our growth strategy."

Port of Tauranga shares last traded at $12.90 and have gained about 30% this year.