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Future Fund, QIC finalise new deal

Future Fund and QIC reached a deal for an interest in the EastLink toll road network sold by New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, advised by its investment advisor Nuveen Infrastructure.

The transaction involves a 19.8% interest in ConnectEast Group, which owns Victoria's largest toll road network, comprising a 39km toll road (EastLink) and a 1km bypass (Ringwood Bypass).

EastLink serves as the primary north-south transport artery in Melbourne's east, connecting the Eastern, Monash, Peninsula Link, and Frankston freeways. It accommodates an average of 250,000 vehicles daily, including 50,000 commercial vehicles.

Future Fund has a long track record of direct investment in Australian infrastructure, including significant interests in some of Australia's largest transport assets.

The fund takes an active role in the governance of these investments, with a view to being an effective long-term steward of capital.

QIC has a long-established relationship with Future Fund and will manage this investment on their behalf, leveraging its long-held experience in the transport sector.

QIC Infrastructure's other transport infrastructure investments include the NorthWestern Roads Group (Westlink M7 and NorthConnex), Port of Melbourne and Port of Brisbane. QIC is also currently assisting the Queensland government in developing a feasibility study for the Gympie Road Bypass Tunnel.

"This is the Future Fund's first direct investment in an Australian toll road and is in line with our strategy to seek more Australian dollar exposures," Future Fund chief investment officer Ben Samild said.

"Infrastructure assets such as Eastlink provide reliable long-term returns and help to protect the portfolio from sustained higher inflation and interest rates."

Meanwhile, QIC transport origination head Nicola Palmer said: "The Future Fund has a long track record of investing in Australian infrastructure, with more than $11billion held in assets including Melbourne Airport, Perth Airport, Port of Melbourne, Canberra Data Centres, Amplitel, OneFortyOne Plantations and Tilt Renewables."

"Our significant Australian infrastructure footprint, deep sector knowledge and relationships, and local on the ground presence, coupled with our thematic sector centric approach position us well and enable us to identify opportunities and proactively unlock them quickly.

"We are looking forward to applying our international expertise and track record in Australian roads infrastructure to Horizon Roads together with the Future Fund and alongside Horizon Roads management and existing investors."

Read more: Future FundEastlinkAnnuity Association of AmericaNew Zealand Superannuation FundNuveen InfrastructureQIC Infrastructure