September 3, 2018 / 12:15 AM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Transurban says regulator approves consortium's WestConnex stake

(Adds details on Transurban Group’s capital raising, background on investment in Australian infrastructure)

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Transurban Group said on Monday that Australia’s foreign investment regulator had no objection to a Transurban-led consortium, Sydney Transport Partners (STP), buying a majority stake in one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) gave the green light to the investment by foreign partners in the consortium’s A$9.3 billion ($6.7 billion) bid for a 51 percent stake in WestConnex toll road from the New South Wales state government, if standard tax and data storage conditions were met.

Transurban being Australian did not need approval for the largest privatisation by sale in Australia, but foreign partners like the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Tawreed Investments Group did need the regulator’s nod.

The country’s No.1 toll-road operator said on Friday it would raise A$4.2 billion to pay for its part of the joint-purchase. It added that it would raise an additional A$600 million by placing shares to certain members of the STP consortium.

The deal buys Transurban near total dominance of Sydney’s toll-road market and comes amid global investor enthusiasm for the reliable income stream flowing from Australian infrastructure. ($1 = 1.3916 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengalurul; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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