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NZ infrastructure investor eyes Australian privatisation

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 26 NZPA - With privatisations off the agenda for a National Party-led New Zealand government, Wellington-based infrastructure investor HRL Morrison & Co is looking to buy Port of Brisbane from Queensland's state Labor Party government.

The manager of listed infrastructure investor Infratil is reported to be leading a consortium bidding for the $A2 billion ($NZ2.45 billion) port, Australian media reported.

Morrison & Co declined to confirm the report. The company also manages infrastructure investments for the New Zealand Superfund, raising speculation that the fund could be part of the consortium.

Global Infrastructure Partners, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and HRL Morrison and Infratil are leading three groups that are among the first-round bidders for Port of Brisbane, the Australian Financial Review reported.

Infratil is a former investor in Port of Tauranga Ltd in New Zealand.

Competition for Brisbane's port is expected to be fierce as the opportunity to invest in ports in this part of the world is rare.

The port is located at the mouth of the Brisbane River, 24 kilometres from the city's central business district.

The sale is of a 99-year lease of the land and infrastructure and sale of the shares in the company operating the port. The Queensland Government will continue to own port land and infrastructure, and act as a landlord to private sector lessee of the port.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser said in April that the Queensland Government wanted to focus on schools, roads and hospitals, and leave running its port to the private sector.

Parties are said to be in the second week of due diligence.

The Queensland state government is also planning to sell its coal and freight rail business, a lease on a coal terminal, tolling rights on some motorways and forest plantation licences.

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