Hastings to wind up Australia business this summer

The Australian asset manager will lose control of The Infrastructure Fund on 31 March with Utilities Trust of Australia termination date to follow in coming months.

Hastings Fund Management’s Australia business is expected to cease to exist by this summer, according to a source close to the company.

The fund manager is awaiting its final termination dates from the UTA fund, a A$6 billion ($4.59 billion; €3.74 billion) open-ended infrastructure investment vehicle, after which it will no longer have any Australian business and will cease to operate in the country, the source told Infrastructure Investor.

The final termination date for the UTA is not yet known, but Morrison & Co, the New Zealand-based alternative asset manager set to take over the UTA, said in a February statement that it expected the formal transition to occur on 1 July following a vote by unitholders.

According to a meeting notice and explanatory memorandum sent to unit holders and shareholders seen by Infrastructure Investor, that vote will take place at an extraordinary general meeting on 30 April. Hastings has not yet been notified of a date for the transition after this.

That vote, if passed, will also alter UTA’s constitution to take away the right of the manager to appoint a director to the company’s board, a right which Hastings exercised during its tenure.

Meanwhile, Hastings’ management of The Infrastructure Fund, a A$2.4 billion closed-ended fund and its only other Australian business, is set to come to an end this weekend, on 31 March.

Following this, and once the transition date for the UTA passes, Hastings, one of the country’s oldest infrastructure managers, will have no active business in Australia and will wind up operations.

Hastings had been the subject of sale speculation for years before UK-based asset manager Northill Capital agreed a deal with Hastings’ parent company Westpac in December 2017 to buy all its UK, US and Singapore-based assets but excluding its Australian business.

That transaction was completed earlier this week, but it is unclear whether Northill will operate the acquired businesses under the Hastings brand name. A spokeswoman for the UK asset manager declined to comment at this time.


The unitholders of TIF held an EGM in August 2017 that ousted Hastings as manager, saying at the time that Hastings would remain as interim manager until the process was complete.

Options under consideration for Gardior, the trustee of TIF, included taking management of the portfolio in-house or switching to specialist managers for different sectors. It is not clear which option Gardior has chosen. The company could not be reached for comment before going to press.

Last month, the board of UTA selected Morrison to take over as its manager, freezing Hastings out. This was due to unease over Westpac’s handling of the sale process, with a potential sale to Charter Hall falling through in August 2017.

UTA holds stakes in assets such as NSW electricity transmission business Transgrid, the NSW state land registry, Perth Airport, Melbourne Airport and the Port of Portland. TIF holds stakes in assets including Perth Airport, Port of Newcastle, New Royal Adelaide Hospital and the NSW land registry.

A spokeswoman for Hastings said: “Hastings remains the manager of UTA and will continue to support its clients until a new manager is appointed. We can’t speculate on the timing of the transition.”