Palisade Investment Partners has made its second major infrastructure purchase in two months – teaming with Spirit Super to acquire GeelongPort, which manages the Port of Geelong.
The $1.2 billion deal is with New South Wales’ State Super owned SAS Trustee Corporation and Brookfield’s Linx Cargo Care Group, which each controlled a half stake.
Following settlement, 51pc will be owned by Spirit Super, which was created early last year with the merging of MTAA Super and Tasplan.
Palisade will hold the balance, managed on behalf of investors.
Port of Geelong
The Port of Geelong is Victoria’s second biggest and the country’s sixth largest – each year managing close to 12 million tonnes of cargo worth a total of over $7b.
With 15 berths over two precincts, Corio Quay and Lascelles, it accommodates 600 vessels per year.
It supports the agriculture, construction, energy and tourism sectors.
“The Spirit Super and Palisade consortium is considered a responsible and capable custodian of the asset, with a long-term investment horizon, ports management expertise and local knowledge to support its ownership of the Port of Geelong and contribute to the broader economic development of the Geelong region,” a statement from the vendors, which listed the asset last year, said.
“We’ve been pleased with the level of interest shown in the asset and bidders’ approach to valuation, and are satisfied that the agreement reached represents an excellent outcome for our members,” State Super chief executive John Livanas added.
“While bids for the port were submitted by a broad and well-credentialed field of investors, the Spirit Super and Palisade…consortium was a clear stand-out given its sector expertise and long-term investment horizon” (story continues below).
Brookfield managing director, Infrastructure, Ray Neill, added that since buying into GeelongPort in 2016, the asset’s earnings have materially grown and its mix of products, diversified.
“Under the guidance of its experienced leadership team, GeelongPort has developed into a large, independent landlord port with a strong sustainability focus and growth outlook,” he said.
“GeelongPort will continue to play a key role as a critical infrastructure asset within Victoria for decades to come”.
Annual profit – expected to circle c$60m in FY23, is mooted to hit c$180m by 2030.
Last year the owners announced plans to invest $100m in a hydrogen hub.
Next year, the Spirit of Tasmania will dock there.
The sale comes a month since Palisade teamed with First Frontier’s portfolio company, Atmos Renewables, paying c$1b for a half share of the Macarthur Wind Farm, in western Victoria, which has the capacity to power over 180,000 homes.
That seller was the federal government’s Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.
In 2018, Palisade bought full control of the Port of Portland, nearly 300 kilometres west of Geelong.
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