THE AUSTRALIAN Competition and Consumer Commission has given the green light for Aurizon to sell its East Coast Rail business for $425 million.

Aurizon in December signed a deal with Magnetic Rail Group to acquire the business.

The divestment of the ECR business was a requirement for Aurizon to complete its $2.35-billion deal to acquire One Rail Australia.

East Coast Rail is a coal haulage operation in New South Wales and Queensland.

The ORA bulk and general freight assets have been integrated into the Aurizon business and are now referred to as Aurizon Bulk Central. These assets include the 2200-kilometre Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail infrastructure, South Australian regional infrastructure, five rail yards, 68 active locomotives, more than 1000 active wagons and about 400 employees.

Aurizon undertook a dual-track process for the divestment of ECR, to be completed through either a trade sale or a demerger.

At the time the sale was announced, Aurizon managing director and CEO Andrew Harding said the sale provided the best outcome for Aurizon and its shareholders, delivering a strong sale price and certainty in completing the divestment.

“We are pleased to have secured the sale of the ECR business and look forward to the transaction completing in early 2023,” he said.

“We have already successfully integrated the ORA bulk and general freight assets into our Bulk business and are excited about both the quality of these assets and the many opportunities for growth.”

ECR has continued to operate independently of Aurizon since the ORA acquisition finalised in July 2022, with an independent board and management team.