By David Winning
SYDNEY--A Transurban Group-led consortium will take full control of the WestConnex toll road in Sydney after agreeing to a deal with the New South Wales state government worth 11.1 billion Australian dollars (US$8.1 billion).
The consortium, known as Sydney Transport Partners, was the successful bidder for the NSW government's 49% stake. The government began seeking a buyer for its remaining interest in November, having previously sold a 51% stake to Sydney Transport Partners in 2018 for A$9.26 billion.
Transurban said it will raise A$4.22 billion of new equity to fund its share of the deal, comprising a A$3.97 billion underwritten entitlement offer at a price of A$13.00 per security and a placement of securities to AustralianSuper worth A$250 million. Transurban ended trading last week at A$14.18.
AustralianSuper, a pension fund, is part of Sydney Transport Partners along with Tawreed Investments Ltd. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Transurban said a new partner, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has been added to the consortium.
The company said it expects the WestConnex transaction to reach financial close in October, and Australia's foreign-investment watchdog and competition regulator have confirmed they won't oppose the deal.
"This transaction is expected to support free cash growth and distributions for Transurban security holders for the life of the concession," estimated at nearly 40 years remaining, said Chief Executive Scott Charlton.
Transurban said it expects to declare a distribution of 15 Australian cents per security for the six months through December, in line with a year earlier.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the latest sale was structured in two tranches to maximize competition and achieve the best price.
"This transaction continues our successful asset recycling strategy, which has been the cornerstone of our record A$108.5 billion infrastructure pipeline that has built and upgraded schools, hospitals, road and rail across the state," Mr Perrottet said.
He said net proceeds from the sale will be invested in NSW state's sovereign wealth fund, before being used to retire an equivalent amount of debt.
Write to David Winning at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires