Thursday, September 29, 2005

Legislative changes open the door for internationalizing U.S. infrastructure

Australia's MacQuarie Infrastructure Eyeing US Opportunities

Thursday September 29

Asia Pulse, Copyright 2005

SYDNEY, Sept 29 Asia Pulse - Macquarie Infrastructure Group (ASX:MIG), one of the world's largest toll-road owners and operators, is continuing to eye off a number of acquisition opportunities in the US.

MIG said its strategy to invest in user-pays toll roads in OECD countries remains unchanged.

"We expect to develop a number of opportunities in the next few years and our offices in Sydney, New York, Toronto and London are well equipped to deal with these," said Macquarie Infrastructure Investment chairman Mark Johnson in the company's 2005 Annual Report.

"There has been a significant increase in potential development and sale opportunities in the US market, as public entities better understand the private investor interest in these assets."

Mr Johnson said there had also been recent legislative changes in the US that have been designed with further development and sale opportunities in mind.

"MIG will also continue to monitor and track opportunities in Australia and in Europe that fulfil its investment criteria," he said.

"With fuel prices rising in the countries in which MIG operates, MIG continues to monitor the impact on economic growth in these markets.

"Most research shows that fuel prices would have to rise significantly before there would be a direct impact on people's driving behaviour."

MIG is seeking to enhance the overall value of its asset portfolio through a range of revenue management, cost management, concession management and structuring initiatives.

The Group also said today it had acquired 100 per cent of a Virginia toll road in its third investment in the US.

MIG said it had taken hold of the 13.3 per cent interest in Toll Road Investors Partnership II (TRIP II), from Kellogg Brown and Root to fully acquire the Dulles Greenway.

Having previously paid $A711 million ($US541.14 million) for 86.7 per cent of the toll road, MIG spent another $A112.0 million ($US85.24 million) for the final takeover.

Dulles Greenway is a 22 kilometre operating toll road which runs west of Washington D.C. from Dulles International Airport to Leeburg, through Loudoun County, in northern Virginia.

Macquarie Infrastructure owns stakes in 13 tollways in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany and Portugal.

MIG securities closed one cent higher at $A3.96 ($US3.01).

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