PSP and MIRA clinch $1.3bn land registry privatization

Pair chosen to operate South Australia’s services for the next 40 years – the second such deal in the country, after a Hastings-led team won a New South Wales bid in March.

A consortium comprising Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets and PSP Investments has won the bid to operate South Australia’s land registry services for A$1.605 billion ($1.26 billion; €1.07 billion).

The consortium, dubbed Land Services SA, has been appointed as the exclusive service provider for South Australia’s transactional land services for the next 40 years, according to the State Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis.

On top of an upfront payment of A$1.605 billion, the state government will also receive an ongoing royalty stream which is expected to be invested in infrastructure and services in the state.

Under the contract, the government retains key legal, policy and regulatory functions and responsibilities while the private sector operator will take over processing of transactions, as well as establish an Innovation Hub in Adelaide with a A$35 million investment in information technology. The government will continue to set prescribed fees and charges for land services, the Treasurer noted.

MIRA, part of Macquarie Group, manages more than A$154.2 billion across 129 portfolio businesses, while PSP Investments is one of Canada’s largest pension funds, with C$135.6 billion ($106.4 billion; €90.4 billion) of net assets under management as of 31 March.

The state government added that the team submitted a binding bid that “compares favourably with other land registry transactions, including the recent commercialization in New South Wales”.

In April, a consortium led by Australian fund manager Hastings won a 35-year contract to run the land titling and registry operations in NSW for A$2.6 billion. Andrew Faber, executive director of infrastructure at Hastings, described land registries as a new and emerging asset class for the sector, due to its infrastructure-like characteristics.