Mel­bourne port sold for US$7.3 bil­lion

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

AN Aus­tralian-led con­sor­tium has won a 50-year lease on the na­tion’s big­gest con­tainer and cargo port for A$9.7 bil­lion (US$7.3 bil­lion), the lat­est mar­itime as­set to be pri­va­tised.

The Port of Mel­bourne, which deals with more than 3000 ships an­nu­ally, was snapped up by a con­sor­tium in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s sec­ond­largest whole­sale funds man­ager the Queens­land In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (QIC) and multi­na­tional firm Global In­fra­struc­ture Part­ners (GIP).

The Aus­tralian news­pa­per re­ported that GIP was act­ing partly on be­half of China’s sov­er­eign wealth fund CIC Cap­i­tal, which it said had ef­fec­tively se­cured 20 per­cent of the port.

The price tag was well above ex­pec­ta­tions, with the Vic­to­rian state govern­ment ini­tially ex­pect­ing A$6 bil­lion for one of Aus­trala­sia’s largest mar­itime hubs for con­tainer­ised, au­to­mo­tive and gen­eral cargo.

“The lease, worth in ex­cess of A$9.7 bil­lion, re­flects strong bid­der in­ter­est and the port’s value, as the big­gest con­tainer and cargo port in the coun­try,” the Vic­to­rian state govern­ment said.

A large chunk of the pro­ceeds of the sale, which has been ap­proved by reg­u­la­tors, will be spent on re­gional and ru­ral in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects.

“Re­gional Vic­to­ria will be big win­ners from the lease, with sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing to sup­port pro­jects they need, like bet­ter roads, and ir­ri­ga­tion and en­ergy pro­jects,” said state trea­surer Tim Pal­las.

“Leas­ing the port re­in­forces Vic­to­ria’s po­si­tion as the freight and lo­gis­tics cap­i­tal of Aus­tralia and will make a great port even bet­ter.”

A string of ma­jor Aus­tralian ports has been pri­va­tised in re­cent years, in­clud­ing the world’s big­gest coal ex­port port in New­cas­tle which was se­cured on a 98-year lease by an Aus­tralian and Chi­nese con­sor­tium in 2014 for A$1.75 bil­lion.

That deal fol­lowed the long-term lease of Syd­ney’s Port Botany and Port Kem­bla fur­ther south, with money ear­marked for in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects. –

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