UniSuper has extended the life of its investment in a Sydney water filtration plant to 2035.

The AUD50bn (€33.9bn) superannuation fund for Australia’s higher education and research sector has extended its partnership with Sydney Water Corporation and French company SUEZ for further 14 years from 2021.

UniSuper first invested in the Prospect Water Filtration Plant in 2001 taking a 49% equity interest in a joint venture with SUEZ, which owns the remaining 51%. 

Kent Robbins, UniSuper’s head of property and private markets, said: “The agreement provided UniSuper with an opportunity to extend the investment life and enhance its position in a quality asset.

“It also provided an opportunity to invest additional capital with attractive returns.”

Under the agreement, the Prospect Water joint venture will continue to operate the plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week, filtering up to 3bn litres of water per day.

Commissioned in 1996, the plant has the capacity to provide drinking water for up to 85% of Sydney’s population. It was built under a 25-year agreement to build, own, operate and transferoriginally due to expire in 2021.

UniSuper has approximately AUD9bn invested in major Australian infrastructure projects.

“UniSuper is attracted to the quality investment characteristics displayed by infrastructure,” Robbins said.

“Large scale infrastructure assets have what we term ‘fortress-like’ characteristics, with their strong market positions supporting the generation of stable, long-term cash flows, making it a natural fit for superannuation funds with long-dated liabilities.”