QIC appoints UBS and Macquarie for sale of Queensland Motorways

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QIC appoints UBS and Macquarie for sale of Queensland Motorways

Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) has appointed Macquarie Group and UBS as financial advisers for the potential sale of the $4 billion Queensland Motorways (QML).

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 Chief Executive Officer Damien Frawley said no decision had been made on the eventual structure, timing or  outcome of any process. He said:

"We will be considering the advice from our financial advisers to help us determine what is the best, most commercial outcome. This is expected to be one of the biggest infrastructure transactions in Australia for several years and we are looking forward to working with two of the best advisers in the infrastructure sector on this."

The appointment comes after the Queensland Investment Corporation confirmed it was looking at selling off its investment in the business in an effort to rebalance its portfolio.

The investment is held by QIC on behalf of the state's Defined Benefit Fund, which funds superannuation obligations for retired workers.

According to sources, Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton has declared the toll-road operator would be interested in acquiring the Queensland Motorways business after the firm announced this week the purchase of Sydney's Cross City Tunnel A$475 million debt.

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

Mr Frawley said QIC's intention was to rebalance and remove concentration risk from the fund's asset portfolio by monetising the investment in QML. Mr Frawley said:

"This is the right time to look at divesting the investment, with QIC having made substantial improvements to QML's management and returns and taking advantage of a favourable market."

Other groups likely to be interested in Queensland Motorways include superannuation heavyweight Industry Funds Management, Abertis/Hastings and groups from Canada including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board or the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, although sources said a listing of the group was also being considered.

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