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Australia's Port of Melbourne sold for A$9.7b to QIC-led group

[SYDNEY] The sale of Australia's biggest general cargo terminal, Port of Melbourne, was awarded to a group led by QIC Private Capital for about A$9.7 billion (S$9.9 billion), the Victorian state government said on Monday.

"We believe this investment brings significant diversification benefits for our clients as a landlord port with a well defined regulatory regime in a globally scarce infrastructure subsector," QIC Global Infrastructure head Ross Israel said in a statement released by the Victorian government.

QIC is part of the Lonsdale Consortium, which won the 50-year lease of the port. The group also includes the investment arm of the Queensland state government, Australia's sovereign Future Fund, New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners, Canada's Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System and the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

The consortium was advised by Gresham Partners and Credit Suisse with Herbert Smith Freehills as legal adviser. The transaction is due to close on Oct 31.

The other bidder was IFM Investors Pty Ltd, Australia's biggest pension fund investor, with Macquarie Group's Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management NV.

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The sell-off is part of Australia's more than A$100 billion privatisation programme, where state and federal governments are trying to cut debt and bankroll capital works by selling "mature" infrastructure assets.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison last month rejected bids for electricity distributor Ausgrid from Chinese state-owned group State Grid and privately run Hong Kong group Cheung Kong Infrastructure, citing national security concerns.


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