Australia’s State Super Joins Brookfield in GeelongPort Sale

Australian pension fund SAS Trustee Corp. is offering its share of a Melbourne-area port as part of a sale process with fellow owner Brookfield Asset Management Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move by the fund, known as State Super, puts full control of GeelongPort Pty up for grabs, said the person, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The sellers will start accepting bids as soon as next week, and aim to sign a deal by December at the earliest, the person said.

The sale of State Super’s stake in the Southeastern port on the outskirts of Melbourne comes after Brookfield began working with advisers to explore a sale of its own stake, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review in June. AFR reported Wednesday that State Super is joining the sale.

The port generates earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about A$60 million ($43 million) and the owners are expecting bids around the top end of the typical 20 to 30 times earnings range, the person said.

Deliberations are ongoing and the owners could decide not to proceed with the sale, the person said. Representatives for Brookfield and State Super declined to comment. 

State Super looks after about A$42 billion in retirement savings in defined-benefit and accumulation-style funds. The fund, which has recorded net outflows for about 15 years since closing to new members in 1992, is focused on risk and timing when to sell assets to pay benefits before the defined-benefit fund runs out of money by 2084.

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