Local sources said today that Transurban Group may face regulatory hurdles with a move into Queensland. Australia's competition regulator said on Wednesday it was inviting feedback on whether the firm, the country's biggest toll road operator with toll roads in New South Wales and Victoria states, should be allowed to buy assets.
Analysts have estimated Queensland Motorways could fetch about A$5 billion (US$4.5 billion). The sale would continue the push by Australian state governments to sell off large infrastructure assets to pay for capital works programs.
Queensland Investment Corporation, the government body selling the 70 km (43 mile) toll road network, said first round bids were due on February 4, 2014.
The Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) is a government owned corporation based in Brisbane and, with over $50 billion funds invested across the globe, is Australia's fourth largest funds manager. QIC holds the investment in QML on behalf of the state's Defined Benefit Fund, which funds superannuation obligations for retired workers.
The state Government transferred QML to QIC in May 2011 for a market-value price of A$3.088 billion on an enterprise value basis. Since then the business has been substantially transformed, and has just reached contractual agreement to acquire Brisbane's Clem7 Tunnel for A$618 million, tolling rights for the city's A$1.5 billion Legacy Way tunnel and the A$308 million Go Between bridge.