HICL ups stake in Aussie desalination project

The A$46m transaction will bring the London-listed firm’s stake in the Victoria PPP to 9.3%.

HICL Infrastructure Company (HICL) has acquired a further 3.4 percent stake in the Aquasure Victorian Desalination public-private partnership (PPP) project.

The additional interest, held via an Australian company, was acquired from a group of unnamed private investors. HICL paid A$46 million (€32 million; $40 million) for the stake, funded from the group’s existing cash and debt resources.

The transaction will take HICL’s overall shareholding in the project to around 9.3 percent.

The project, procured under the Australian state of Victoria's Partnerships Victoria Policy, is billed by HICL as the largest desalination plant in the southern hemisphere. Operational since December 2012, it is capable of producing 444 megalitres of drinking water per day.

HICL's investment adviser is InfraRed Capital Partners, a London-based fund manager with additional offices in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Sydney. The fund originally invested in the Victoria facility in April this year, when it bought a 5.85 percent interest from the InfraRed Environmental Infrastructure Fund.

The deal comes a week after it paid £61.5 million (€78 million; $98.7 million) for the 50 percent stake in the UK’s Pinderfields and Pontefract Hospitals PPP it did not already own from Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Investments. 

HICL’s portfolio, now valued at more than £1.5 billion, comprises 96 infrastructure investments.