TRANSURBAN IN THE RACE FOR WESTCONNEX
TRANSURBAN has confirmed its interest in Australia’s largest infrastructure development, with the toll road operator evaluating the NSW’s government’s proposed sale of 51 per cent of the company behind the WestConnex project.
The WestConnex toll road project, touted as enabling motorists to travel about 50km from Sydney’s west to the edge of the CBD without traffic lights, is owned by Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC).
“In Sydney, we are evaluating the registration of interest and expect to participate in the NSW government’s selldown of a majority stake in the WestConnex project,” Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.
“We understand that there is significant interest from global and domestic parties in the sale process, with demand remaining strong for quality Australian infrastructure assets.” Transurban, which also owns or has interests in Sydney’s M2, M5 and M7, is looking at a joint bid for the majority stake in SMC, but has not revealed the other potential members of the consortium.
The NSW government called for registrations of interest in the SMC stake in September, a month after confirming it will pursue the sale to help fund the final stage of WestConnex.
The government will retain 49 per cent of SMC and its assets. WestConnex is expected to be completed in 2023, and in late 2015 was forecast to cost $16.8 billion.
Transurban also said it collected $567 million in toll revenue in the three months to the end of September, up 10.5 per cent on a year earlier, on a statutory basis.
Transurban’s preferred measure, proportional toll revenue, increased 11.4 per cent to $589 million.
Sydney proportional toll revenue rose 12.3 per cent to $239 million. The group’s average daily traffic increased by 1.1 per cent, with growth in Sydney, Brisbane and on its US roads offset by disruption in Melbourne from the huge $1.3 billion CityLink Tulla widening.
Transurban shares gained 11c yesterday to close at $12.17.
Transurban CEO Scott Charlton said the company could be a player in the WestConnex project.