Transurban has led a consortium to bid for a 51% stake in Sydney’s AUD16.8bn (€10.63bn) WestConnex toll road.

On the final day for submission of bids, Transurban has confirmed that it is leading a consortium, Sydney Transport Partners (STP), seeking WestConnex assets that are currently up for sale by the NSW Government. 

The NSW Government plans to retain a 49% stake in WestConnex.

The Transurban consortium includes AustralianSuper, (about 20%) the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (about 20%) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (about 10%).

The NSW Government had earlier received a bid from IFM Investors, which is backed by the Dutch pension fund APG, and Canadian pension fund OMERS.

The Transurban bid was delayed after being complicated by a decision of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to extend by six weeks a review of the company’s ownership of toll roads.

The competition watchdog is concerned that the dominance of Transurban, which owns seven of nine NSW toll roads, could make it harder for other operators to enter the market.

Transurban said the NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, had confirmed that the Government was committed to securing the best outcome from the transaction for the people of NSW.

The government would work with all bidding parties in relation to the nature of their bids and evaluate conditional bids as in previous transactions.

All bids must ultimately receive regulatory approval from the ACCC and the Foreign Investment Review Board. 

Scott Charlton, the CEO of Transurban, said: “We will continue to work constructively and collaboratively with both agencies to enable the NSW Government to conclude its process as expeditiously as possible, and achieve the best outcome for NSW taxpayers and road users.”

Transurban has been engaging with the ACCC since December 2017.

In a client note, the brokerage firm CLSA said Transurban had lined up a debt package expected to be worth AUD8bn to AUD10bn involving several banks.