Utility and telecom plays have been among biggest bets for Australian investment manager, but it’s also selectively added U.S. port assets.
Macquarie Group’s (ASX: MQG) $1.78 billion purchase of the Long Beach Container Terminal is not its biggest deal ever. But it is one of its biggest bets in the maritime sector and the continued growth in the Southern California import gateway.
As reported in FreightWaves, a private equity fund backed by the Australia-based investment manager came out on top in the auction for the terminal owned by container shipping company Orient Overseas International, now part of Cosco.
Macquarie is one of the largest owners of hard assets in the world, with a $129 billion global portfolio spread across 70 different public and private funds. The company touts that 100 million people daily use its infrastructure assets.
The LBCT deal is the third and the largest for Macquarie Infrastructure Partners IV, which raised $5 billion last year.
The fund previously bought Aligned Energy, a manufacturer of data-center pods and cooling devices, and data service provider Bluebird Network.
Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, which focuses on U.S. and Canadian assets, raised $8.5 billion across its three previous funds, according to capital data provider PitchBook.
Led by 16-year Macquarie veteran Karl Kuchel, the funds previous big bets have been on utilities and cell towers. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III was part of a $4.9 billion buyout of Louisiana power provider Cleco Holdings. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners I led a $1 billion buyout of cell phone tower owner Global Tower Partners in 2007, and five years later selling the firm for $4.8 billion to American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT).
Its first move into the maritime sector was to buy a minority stake in the terminal and stevedoring business of Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) (JPX: 9101) in 2014 for an undisclosed sum. NYK owns the Yusen Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles.
Maher is one of the biggest terminals in the Northeast, handling up to 3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per year.
Long Beach Container Terminal handles about 2 million TEU annually. But the Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment Project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, will bring Long Beach Container Terminal’s capacity up to 3.3 million TEU annually.
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