Australia’s UniSuper takes deeper dive into Sydney water

The super fund, which has about A$9bn deployed into infrastructure assets, has extended its investment in a large-scale filtration facility for a further 14 years.

UniSuper, an Australian superannuation fund for the higher education and research sector, has committed to extend its investment in Sydney’s Prospect Water Filtration Plant from 2021 to 2035. 

The super fund first invested in the asset, one of the world’s largest water filtration plants, in 2001. It holds a 49 percent stake in the facility. French waste management and water treatment company SUEZ owns the remaining 51 percent. 

Commissioned in 1996, the plant was built under a 25-year build, own, operate and transfer agreement with Sydney Water Corporation originally due to expire in 2021. The facility has the capacity to provide drinking water for up to 85 percent of Sydney’s population. 

“The agreement provided UniSuper with an opportunity to extend the investment life and enhance its position in a quality asset,” said Kent Robbins, UniSuper’s head of property and private markets. “It also provided an opportunity to invest additional capital with attractive returns.”

The fund declined to provide further financial details about the transaction but said it currently has over A$9 billion ($6.83 billion; €6 billion) invested in major infrastructure assets, including Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane Airports, Transurban Group, APA Group, Victoria’s Desalination Plant, Axicom and the recently opened Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

“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,” said Robbins.

UniSuper currently manages assets totalling A$54 billion.