The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN DAGGE

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.

Pic­ture: STU­ART McEVOY

Transur­ban CEO Scott Charl­ton said the com­pany could be a player in the WestConnex pro­ject.

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