First State Super wins land registry rights in AUD2.86bn deal

Australia’s First State Super has won the rights to operate the Victorian Land Registry Services of the Victoria state government in a deal worth AUD2.86bn (€1.8bn).

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said the NSW super fund has been awarded the 40-year concession to operate parts of the Land Registry Services (LRS) business division of Land Use Victoria (LUV).

First State Super outbid a consortium of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) and Sunsuper in the final round of the competitive tender process.

First State Super has now invested more than AUD5bn in land registries.

In a joint deal with the former Hastings Funds Management, First State Super paid $2.6bn to the NSW government in April 2017 for a concession to run Australian Registry Investments (ARI), the operator of the land titling and registry business in New South Wales.

In a statement this week, the fund said it would own the Victorian concession “100%”.

First State Super CEO, Michael Dwyer, said: “We see land registries as critical economic infrastructure with strong investment fundamentals. Victoria has been the best-performing economy in Australia, underpinned by strong population growth.”

He said the Victorian concession would complement First State Super’s existing investment in ARI.

The sale, however, has raised concerns in some quarters that the government has sold rights to manage sensitive information, such as land titles, to the private sector.

The fund said: “First State Super understands how important it is that the LRS business continues to manage data privacy in a robust manner and that data security is a critical priority.”

“As the operator of LRS, Victorian Land Registry Services will ensure data security remains the number one priority throughout the concession.”

With the sale of the Victorian land registry, investors’ sights will now turn to Western Australia, which is planning to privatise its land registry.

South Australia sold its land registry to Canada’s PSP Investments and MIRA a year ago.

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