| SYDNEY, Sept 16
SYDNEY, Sept 16 Two consortiums of Western
infrastructure investors are poised to lodge final bids of up to
A$7 billion ($5.26 billion) for Australia's biggest general
cargo terminal, Port of Melbourne, by a Friday deadline,
advisers to the bidders said.
The absence of Chinese bidders for the terminal in
Australia's second-biggest city removes a potential political
headache for Canberra, which angered Beijing last month by
rejecting Chinese bids for a power network on security grounds.
The first group, led by IFM Investors Pty Ltd, Australia's
biggest pension fund investor, also includes Macquarie Group's
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Dutch
pension fund manager APG Asset Management NV.
The second group, led by QIC Private Capital Pty Ltd, the
investment arm of the Queensland state government, includes
Australia's sovereign Future Fund, New York-based Global
Infrastructure Partners, Canada's Ontario Municipal Employees'
Retirement System and the California Public Employees'
Advisers to the two groups, who would not be named for
reasons of client confidentiality, said bids would be submitted
on Friday and would fall in the range of A$6 billion to A$7
The Port of Melbourne is being offered on a 50-year lease by
the Victorian state government and both potential bidders in
August received approval from Australia's competition regulator
to proceed with their offers.
A spokesman for Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the
result of the sales process was expected to be announced by the
end of the month.
The sell-off is part of Australia's more than A$100 billion
privatisation programme, where state and federal governments are
trying to cut debt and bankroll capital works by selling
"mature" infrastructure assets.
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison last month rejected bids
for electricity distributor Ausgrid from Chinese state-owned
group State Grid and privately run Hong Kong group
Cheung Kong Infrastructure, citing national security
($1 = 1.3305 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Stephen Coates)