Infratil in $63m Aussie student residence deal

The Wellington-based vehicle, which is investing in the project alongside a super fund, expects more such assets to come to market in the near future.

New Zealand’s Infratil and Australia’s state-owned Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation have been awarded a 30-year concession to run Australian National University’s student accommodation residences in Canberra. 

Infratil’s 50 percent equity stake in the project is estimated at A$82.5 million ($62.6 million; €55.9 million) and the investment, managed by New Zealand-based investment firm Morrison & Co, is expected to close within this month. 

The long-term concession, which involves approximately 3,760 beds in nine buildings, includes responsibility for the provision of 'hard' facilities management services such as building maintenance and lifecycle replacement. The investors have sub-contracted the services to Spotless Group for the term of the concession. 

The ANU retains the responsibility for the delivery of 'soft' facilities maintenance services, including marketing and managing application for the accommodation, processing rental agreements, cleaning internal areas of the residences and providing day-to-day pastoral care to residents. 

“The concession agreement provides the consortium with a stable, long-term inflation-linked cashflow and rights and protections regarding the development of additional on-campus Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) residences,” said Marko Bogoievski, chief executive of Infratil.

The portfolio is the largest in Australia, the fund said. Infratil sees opportunities to expand it further to help meet the additional demand generated by increasing enrolments of interstate and international students. The firm pointed out that more PBSA deals are likely to come to market as a known pipeline of other projects is on the horizon. 

Following the Canberra Data Centres’ settlement and the ANU purchase, Infratil will have approximately NZ$209 million ($150 million; €134 million) cash on hand with NZ$246 million undrawn bank facilities for ongoing reinvestment and new initiatives, it said.