Australia’s largest superannuation fund has made a play for the listed New Zealand infrastructure investor – only to be knocked back within 24 hours for undervaluing the company.
The AUD$190 billion AustralianSuper said it would offer NZ$7.43 (AUD$6.99) a share for 100% of Infratil, which is listed on both the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges – in total, NZ$5.37 billion (AUD$5.04 billion).
The offer included a cash consideration of NZ$5.70 (AUD$5.36) a share plus 0.221 of Trustpower shares – a NZ energy company – per Infratil share – which it said represented a 39.2% premium to its closing price on 4 December.
Like the recent attempted takeover of Regis by Soul Pattinson, Infratil revealed that AustralianSuper has already made a previous bid on 18 October for NZ$6.30 (AUD$5.92) a share.
Infratil was founded and listed in 1994 and now has interests in energy, airport, transport and data centres plus a 50% stake in Australian retirement village operator RetireAustralia, with the other 50% owned by New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
As we covered here, RetireAustralia – established in 2005 by Tim Russell and Mark Taylor – was sold by American banks JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley on 31 December 2014 to the NZ joint venture, with Infratil saying they saw retirement villages and the continuum of care model as an area for growth. However, Infratil sold its 19% stake in NZ village operator Metlifecare in 2017 for NZ$237.9 million (AUD$223.7 million).
AustralianSuper head of infrastructure, Nik Kemp, said the super fund was attracted to Infratil’s high-quality portfolio of infrastructure assets in New Zealand and Australia.
“As a well capitalised and long-term investor, we see significant potential to invest in the growth of Infratil’s assets over the long term on behalf of AustralianSuper’s members, which allows us to provide significant value to Infratil shareholders today,” he said.
“AustralianSuper currently has NZ$1.3 billion invested in New Zealand, reflecting our long- term confidence in this market.”
But Infratil rejected the offer, and suggested it will not engage in further negotiations.
“The IFT (Infratil) board will consider any proposal to maximise shareholder value, but given the significant deficiencies in the proposal, no further engagement is planned at this time,” the company said in a statement to the ASX.
Infratil also said the need for the deal to be approved by both Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board and New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office was also a factor in the decision.