QSuper to back Macquarie arm's bid for New South Wales' land titles registry

QSuper to back Macquarie arm's bid for New South Wales' land titles registry
QSuper to back Macquarie arm's bid for New South Wales' land titles registry

QSuper, Queensland's largest super fund, is teaming up with Macquarie Group's asset management arm to bid for New South Wales' land titles registry.

The super fund, which manages more than $65 billion, is preparing to write a cheque to support the bid headed by Macquarie Group's asset management arm, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), according to the Australian Financial Review’s column Street Talk.

The consortium also includes ASX-listed Link Group, which has plenty of experience designing and implementing technology-based process upgrades, Street Talk said.

The Land and Property Information (LPI) unit provides all mapping, titles and other related land information services for NSW.

The sale of the state's LPI would be the first sale of its kind in Australia, Property Observer had reported in a previous article.

Ever since the news of the privatisation of the LPI came out, there has been much debate about its impact. 

Experts have said there is a “very real potential for conflict of interest if a commercial organisation such as a major bank, insurance company or land title data provider, owns the title”, as previously reported by Property Observer. 

The privatised model would eliminate independent government operation of the title system, reduce community trust and open up opportunity for corruption in land transactions, the article had said. 

There was also concern about job losses, with Fairfax Media citing leaked documents saying hundreds of employees at NSW's land titles registry are now uncertain about their future with the future private operator possibly sending their jobs out of the state.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian whether these jobs would stay in NSW for at least another four years. 

MIRA's consortium is said to be on track to have a binding bid ready in time for the March 30 deadline. 

The winning bidder will have the right to run NSW's land titles registry for the next 35 years, forecast to be worth more than $2 billion. Fairfax Media said LPI generates $130 million in profit each year.

QSuper is no stranger to Australian infrastructure auctions. It has invested about $5 billion in the asset class, including stakes in the Port of Brisbane, NSW Ports (Port Botany and Port Kembla), Brisbane Airport and the QIC/AMP Capital-owned utility Powerco.

QSuper has traditionally participated in such auctions via fellow Queensland firm QIC or under the guidance of the US-based but increasingly Australian-focused Global Infrastructure Partners.

MIRA's group is expected to come up against three other bids at the auction; Hastings Funds Management and its partners including First State Super; Canada's Teranet with parent Borealis Infrastructure and Computershare; and private equity giant The Carlyle Group.

Should QSuper write a cheque as expected, it would be a significant financial boost for MIRA and Link. While there is no doubting in the pair's expertise in such technology upgrade and registry-type projects, there were some doubts about funding and whether they could compete with the deeper pockets of rival consortiums. 

JPMorgan is running the auction on behalf of the NSW government after undertaking a scoping study on the sale.





NSW Land Titles


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