A consortium led by road operator company, Transurban Group, will pay $11.1 billion for a near half stake of the country’s longest auto tunnel network.
This move would see the consortium take ownership of the asset and dominate Sydney’s toll road network.
Transurban already owned 51 per cent of WestConnex, a roughly 70 kilometre (44 mile) system of toll roads linking Sydney’s sprawling metro area, along with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and domestic pension fund AustralianSuper. The New South Wales government owned the remaining share.
Buying out the 49 per cent share from the state gives the group – of which Transurban owns a half share – the full financial benefit as more sections of the giant capital works project open to traffic in the next few years. The consortium also added Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec as a member.
“WestConnex is one of the largest road infrastructure projects in the world (and) a key component of the New South Wales government’s integrated transport plan to ease congestion and connect communities in Sydney,” said Transurban CEO, Scott Charlton.
“We feel privileged to take Sydney Transport Partners’ holding in this critical asset to 100 per cent,” he added.
Transurban said it would raise $4.22 billion in a stock issue to fund its part of the purchase, which already had the necessary regulatory approval. The company owns most Sydney toll roads and dominates Australia’s toll road market from coast to coast.