Australia’s ICG sells ANZ Stadium

The facility's return to public ownership is part of the NSW government’s A$1.6bn plan to redevelop stadiums in the region.

Australian fund manager Infrastructure Capital Group has sold ANZ Stadium to the government of New South Wales, clearing the way for the state to redevelop the 83,500-seat facility.

The firm did not disclose deal size but local reports said the transaction was valued at A$220 million ($166 million; €149 million). Tom Laidlaw, chief executive of ICG, told Infrastructure Investor that the company had pocketed a healthy return on the sale. 

ICG’s A$450 million Diversified Infrastructure Trust, who became the stadium's owner in 2007, acquired the asset for about A$150 million at the time.

Laidlaw said the exit, sealed 15 years ahead of schedule, comes as the NSW government plans to invest A$1.6 billion in “Rebuilding the Major Stadia Network” to upgrade and redevelop major event venues in the region. 

The governments intends to revamp the ANZ Stadium during its current term through a project that will be complemented by a series of major transport and infrastructure initiatives in and around Sydney Olympic Park, the state of NSW said in a statement. 

ANZ Stadium's management team and day-to-day operations are not expected to change. The facility will continue to be operated by VenuesLive Management Services, a company also owned by ICG. 

ICG plans to use the proceeds from the sale to pursue other mid-market infrastructure assets in Australia. Laidlaw said ICG has a “pipeline of reasonably priced opportunities”, spanning regional airports, utilities and renewables, roads and railways. 

At the same time, the firm is also forging on with efforts to raise A$1 billion from domestic and international institutional investors to fund future acquisitions. 

The fresh capital will be deployed across the Diversified Infrastructure Trust and A$1.1 billion Energy Infrastructure Trust, as well as separate accounts for institutional investors. 

“We have received strong interests from domestic and offshore investors and are confident to reach its first close of receiving fresh capital by the end of this year, with the second close to follow next year,” said Peter Welch, ICG’s head of capital.