Qantas is to end its joint venture with Australia Post with the acquisition of Australian Air Express.
The Australian national carrier is to sell its 50 per cent stake in StarTrack to Australia Post and buy 100 per cent of the airfreight business Australian Air Express.
The exchange ends the joint venture sealed in 2003 between Qantas and Australia Post, with saw each holding 50 per cent stakes in Australian Air Express and StarTrack.
Bosses at Qantas say it will “strengthen” their cargo offer while bringing an estimated US$31m windfall when the deal goes through.
Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce says: “Through this acquisition we will be able to offer an integrated air freight product across domestic and international networks.
“By leveraging the best from both businesses and delivering efficiencies, we will provide a market leading service to our customers.
“This transaction enables us to improve a core business area while divesting a non-core asset, StarTrack.
“We will continue to have a close commercial relationship with Australia Post and StarTrack remaining major customers of Australian Air Express and Qantas Freight.”
Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour says: "The growth in online shopping in Australia is increasing demand for flexible, timely and cost effective delivery solutions for businesses and consumers.
"StarTrack also provides infrastructure capabilities that are of strategic and commercial benefit to Australia Post, including access to a fully automated network, track and trace technology and line-haul services options. Under single ownership, both Australia Post and StarTrack will have a far more comprehensive offer to customers and the potential to unlock further value for our customers in the future.
"We have enjoyed a close working relationship with Qantas under the joint venture arrangements and we anticipate an even closer commercial relationship going forward."
The transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval for Australia Post’s acquisition of StarTrack and final approval from Australia Post’s shareholder.
Subject to the approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012.