AMP Capital’s Community Infrastructure Fund acquires 50% stake in Perth stadium

The Sydney-based fund manager said the venue in Western Australia has the characteristics of an infrastructure asset, with ‘secure and predictable’ revenues.

AMP Capital has acquired a 50 percent stake in Westadium, the joint venture that operates and maintains Optus Stadium in Perth, through its Community Infrastructure Fund.

The fund manager acquired the interest from John Laing for an undisclosed sum. The investment represents the Community Infrastructure Fund’s first foray into sports stadiums. Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments owns the other 50 percent of Westadium.

Westadium developed the Optus Stadium in partnership with the government of Western Australia on a design, build, finance and maintain concession lasting 25 years from 1 January 2018.

AMP Capital’s acquisition reached financial close this month.

Community Infrastructure Fund manager Charles Savage told Infrastructure Investor that the deal was an opportunity to invest in a “high-profile community infrastructure asset” with “stable returns and an attractive risk-return profile”.

Savage said the fund was comfortable classifying a sports stadium as infrastructure. “The investment has the characteristics of an infrastructure asset, similar to the other assets in the Community Infrastructure Fund,” he said. “The project earns secure and predictable availability-based payments that are received for making the stadium open and available for use. Over 99 percent of the revenues are availability-based, with revenue not being exposed to ticket sales or the number of events held over the 24 years remaining on the contract.”

The 60,000-capacity stadium opened in January 2018. It hosts a range of sports including cricket, Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union and soccer, as well as concerts and other events.

The pitch is oval-shaped but can be adapted to a rectangular field setup within 12 hours. The facility also contains two of the largest video screens in Australia.

AMP Capital’s purchase takes the enterprise value of the assets held within the Community Infrastructure Fund to A$3.7 billion ($9.7 billion; €8.6 billion). The fund has invested more than A$830 million in those assets.

The fund invests in high-yield brownfield social infrastructure PPP assets in Australia and New Zealand. The sectors it focuses on include education, health, prisons, community housing and water.

Other assets held in the fund include the Darwin Convention Centre in Australia’s Northern Territory, Riverland Water in South Australia and the Victoria Desalination Plant in Dalyston.