One of Australia’s top infrastructure projects is caught in a $13.2 billion bidding war between at least two domestic pension funds and one Canadian fund.
According to Reuters, which obtained the information via anonymous sources with knowledge of the deal, the New South Wales government aims to sell a 51% stake in Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC), confirming IFM Investors, Australian Super, and La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec are chomping at the bit. The funds are among the competition to own the WestConnex toll road, which ties travelers from the middle of Sydney to its western section.
Australian media have also reported additional bidders in Spanish toll road operator Cintra, local and US toll operator Transurban, and Construction company CIMIC—which is currently building the motorway.
Although WestConnex is currently unfinished, the 20-plus mile project will be conducted in three stages, all of which are included in the sale along with the SMC and its 250 staff. The remaining 49% will be retained by the government until WestConnex is officially open.
Preliminary bids were due on Monday. Final bids are due in June.
According to the Australian Financial Review, various consortiums are looking to nab the motorway, one of which consists of Transurban, AustralianSuper, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. The Transurban consortium on Monday placed a bid, which, in addition to bids made by other partnerships, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will regulate as Transurban already has investments in six other Sydney roads.
The ACCC has requested submissions from additional parties interested in the Transurban acquisition, with a due date of March 19.