AustralianSuper group clinches majority WestConnex stake

Alice Uribe

By

31/08/2018

AustralianSuper, as part of a consortium led by tollroad giant Transurban, has been successful in its bid for 51 per cent ownership of WestConnex, the largest road infrastructure project under way in Australia.

The consortium, Sydney Transport Partners, which also includes Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Tawreed Investments, paid the NSW Government $9.3 billion for the majority stake, beating out competing bidder IFM Investors.

This comes after the competition watchdog on Thursday gave the greenlight for Sydney Transport Partners to bid for the majority stake in the $16.8 billion motorway.

The deal still requires approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton said WestConnex was “strategically significant for Sydney Transport Partners”.

“WestConnex is a critical component of the NSW Government’s long-term transport and planning solution,” he said. “The placement of $600 million to our partners AustralianSuper and Tawreed demonstrates their support for Transurban and the WestConnex acquisition.”

Transurban, which has a market capitalisation of $27 billion, makes up 50 per cent of the consortium. AustralianSuper and CPPIB each have a 20.5 per cent stake, while Tawreed has 9 per cent.

The consortium will raise $4.2 billion in equity to fund the successful bid.

AustralianSuper chief investment officer Mark Delaney said the deal would boost economic growth and employ thousands of workers while providing returns that would contribute to the long-term retirement savings of the fund’s members.

“WestConnex is a high-quality road network and is vitally important to the NSW economy,” Delaney said. “We commend the NSW Government for its willingness to harness superannuation money to drive positive outcomes for the state.”

AustralianSuper has been investing in productive infrastructure businesses and assets for more than 20 years. Its current infrastructure portfolio is valued at more than $13 billion and includes stakes in NSW Ports and Transurban Queensland.

WestConnex includes 33 kilometres of new or improved motorway, linking Sydney’s west and south-west with the CBD, Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

By 2031, the NSW Government expects WestConnex to provide travel-time savings of about 40 minutes between Parramatta and Sydney Airport.

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