Whitehelm acquires Singapore’s ITE College West PPP project
Two mid-sized Australian superannuation funds have purchased a social infrastructure public–private partnership (PPP) project in Singapore, in the form of a vocational education training centre.
Through their infrastructure asset manager, Whitehelm Capital, MTAA Super and PrimeSuper have paid an undisclosed sum to buy the right to run Singapore’s ITE College West project from Gammon Capital.
Whitehelm Capital’s head of Australia and Asia, Saji Anantakrishnan, told IPE Real Assets the college was Singapore’s first social infrastructure PPP and that it now has more than 7,700 full-time students.
He described ITE West College as a landmark project for Singapore, signalling its move into public-private partnerships to develop social infrastructure.
Singapore has since gone on to develop a cluster of the ITE colleges under different financial models.
Anantakrishnan said the acquisition cost would not be disclosed because it was a “private transaction”.
When a related company to the vendor, Gammon Construction, won the right to build the college in 2008, it said the project had a capital value of about US$190m (€174.5m). It also said then that the contract was for a concession period of 27 years.
The college was completed and accepted its first batch of students in 2010.
Anantakrishnan said the two super funds would retain concession for the remaining period, after which college ownership would revert to the Singapore government.
The Singapore college is the first Asian investment of PrimeSuper and MTAA Super.