Macquarie and PSP Investments acquire South Australian land registry

Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA) and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) have bought the land registry business of the South Australian government for AUD1.6bn (€1.1bn).

MIRA and PSP Investments have formed Land Services SA to provide land titling and valuation services in the state of South Australia. The state government has granted Land Services SA a 40-year concession.

State treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the government retains key legal, policy and regulatory functions and responsibilities, and will continue to set prescribed fees and charges for land services.

He said Land Services SA will accelerate innovation and investment in transactional land services and functions as it invests in technology systems and offers new products to the market.

South Australia is the second Australian state to privatise its land registry business. In April this year, a consortium including First State Super and Hastings Funds Management bought a 35-year concession to run New South Wales’ state land registry business.

They consortium paid AUD2.6bn, reportedly AUD1bn above original estimates, and MIRA and PSP are reported to have paid a high multiple in South Australia for a business that generates an annual profit of some AUD46m.

The value of these transactions underscores demand from deep-pocketed investors for ‘infrastructure-light’ assets, of which land registries is an emerging example.

Victoria is about to follow New South Wales and South Australia in selling its land titles registry. State treasurer Tim Pallas has indicated that his government expects to receive at least AUD2bn for the asset.

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