Stonepeak and Spirit Super sign deal to acquire Victoria’s GeelongPort

Ross Barry, Chief Investment Officer at Spirit Super

Stonepeak, an alternative investment firm specializing in infrastructure and real assets, and Spirit Super, an Australian industry super fund, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of Australia’s GeelongPort Pty Limited (GeelongPort).

What is the market offering of GeelongPort?

GeelongPort is Victoria’s second largest port located about 75km southwest of Melbourne in Victoria’s largest regional city, Geelong. Stonepeak, on behalf of its managed funds and accounts, will hold a 70% interest in the entity and Spirit Super will have a 30% stake.

GeelongPort is a diversified landlord port and a major driver of Victoria’s economy, managing over A$7bn of trade and supporting over 1,800 jobs. The location of makes it of high strategic significance, as it provides easy access to logistics routes for trade through critical road, rail, air, and channel connections for Geelong and south-west Victoria’s supply chains.

Stonepeak and Spirit Super’s long-term investment horizon and strong focus on operations will support GeelongPort in its continued efforts to grow and deepen relationships with key customers and business partners. For over 150 years, GeelongPort has played a fundamental role in the Victorian economy with operations underpinned by long-dated, blue-chip public and private contracts, including the Spirit of Tasmania operated by TT Line.

GeelongPort comprises 15 berths over two primary precincts, Corio Quay and Lascelles Wharf, providing land, infrastructure, and services to facilitate trade for Victoria’s businesses. GeelongPort handles about 12 million tonnes of cargo and over 600 vessel visits each year.

What does this mean for Stonepeak and Spirit Super?

Commenting on the GeelongPort acquisition, Darren Keogh, Senior Managing Director at Stonepeak, said, “As a high-quality landlord port with operations that are critical to Australia’s economy, GeelongPort is a natural fit for Stonepeak’s core infrastructure strategy.”

“It is a highly contracted entity with strong barriers to entry and stable demand drivers, which we believe are even more compelling when coupled with the port’s meaningful opportunities for long-term growth through additional development to meet future import-export demand in the region. We look forward to working closely with the GeelongPort team to help further their objectives and invest behind this integral component of the Victorian economy.”

“We are excited for what our investment will mean for the long-term growth of GeelongPort and pleased that members will now own a direct stake in one of Australia’s largest regional infrastructure assets,” commented Ross Barry, Chief Investment Officer at Spirit Super.

“As the fund for hard working Australians, a key investment focus for the fund has been regional Australia, where we believe there is strong potential for long-term growth.”

The transaction is expected to close towards the end of the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary regulatory approvals. The Consortium were advised by Gresham Partners acting as financial advisor, King & Wood Mallesons as legal advisor and Clayton Utz as tax advisor.