Australia's Port of Melbourne sold for $7.3 bln20 September 2016 AFP, Sydney
An Australian-led consortium on Monday won a 50-year-lease on the nation's biggest container and cargo port for Aus$9.7 billion (US$7.3 billion), the latest maritime asset to be privatised.
The Port of Melbourne, which deals with more than 3,000 ships annually, was snapped up by a consortium including Australia's second-largest wholesale funds manager the Queensland Investment Corporation and multinational firm Global Infrastructure Partners.
The pricetag was well above expectations with the Victorian state government initially expecting Aus$6 billion for one of Australasia's largest maritime hubs for containerised, automotive and general cargo.
"The lease, worth in excess of $9.7 billion, reflects strong bidder interest and the port's value, as the biggest container and cargo port in the country," the state government said.
Another consortium including Australian fund manager IFM Investors and Dutch pension fund APG Asset Management was also in the running.
A large chunk of the proceeds of the sale, which has been approved by regulators, will be spent on regional and rural infrastructure projects.
"Regional Victoria will be big winners from the lease, with significant funding to support projects they need, like better roads, and irrigation and energy projects," said state Treasurer Tim Pallas.