(Repeats to additional subscribers)
* First foray for Transurban into Queensland assets
* Part of push by state governments to offload assets
* Transurban shares on trading halt pending release of
By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY, April 24 A consortium led by Transurban
Group, Australia's biggest toll road owner, has won a
bid to buy toll firm Queensland Motorways Ltd for $6.6 billion
in its first foray into the country's third most populous state.
The A$7.1 billion sale is part of a push by Australian state
governments to sell off large infrastructure assets to pay for
capital works programmes.
State governments, once hesitant to give up tax revenue by
selling infrastructure, appear to have had a change of heart
since the state of New South Wales sold its desalination plant
for $2.3 billion in 2012.
Transurban led a consortium that also included
superannuation fund conglomerate AustralianSuper and Abu Dhabi
Investment Co, beating two rival international bidders.
"Clearly this is a portfolio of attractive assets with all
the characteristics of our existing networks in Sydney and
Melbourne, and the attractive demographics of the Queensland
market," said Transurban Chief Executive Officer Scott Charlton
in a statement.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier
this month gave the green-light to the Transurban-led
The sale, subject to certain conditions, is expected to be
completed by the third quarter of 2014.
The consortium will release details later in the day on how
they plan to fund the deal. Transurban's shares were on a
trading halt pending the outcome of a share sale to
institutional shareholders to help fund the deal.
"The price paid is consistent with previous toll road
transaction metrics," AustralianSuper Head of Infrastructure
Jason Peasley said in a statement late last night.
AustralianSuper currently has $8 billion in Australian and
global infrastructure investments, including the Queensland
Motorways investment, it said.
Infrastructure assets such as toll roads, power stations and
ports are in hot demand from pension funds and other investors
for their stable, long-run returns and tough barriers to
competition, particularly in highly regulated developed
countries such as Australia.
($1 = 1.0766 Australian Dollars)
(Additional reporting by Colin Packham and Sonali Paul; Editing
by Edwina Gibbs)