Macquarie fund to sell Arqiva stake for $175m

The sale, expected to net the Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund about $171m, will be a ‘significant milestone’ for the firm, according to CEO John Stuart, because it will mean its portfolio will comprise entirely of direct investments in Asian infrastructure assets.

The Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund has made plans to divest of its final remaining non-Asian asset, according to a statement.

The Singapore-listed infrastructure investment firm said it has agreed to sell its 8.7 percent interest in Arqiva, a UK provider telecommunications infrastructure such as television signal transmitting stations, for S$244.9 million (€129.1 million; $174.7 million). The net proceeds to the firm are expected to be S$240.1 million.

The interest is being sold to three investors. Macquarie did not disclose their identity, though it said they are existing shareholders of Arqiva.

The sale was negotiated “on an arm’s length commercial basis” and is subject to shareholder approval, Macquarie said.

John Stuart, the chief executive officer of the fund, said that following the sale, its portfolio will comprise entirely of direct investments in Asian infrastructure assets. He added this will be a “significant milestone” for the firm.

Last year, Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund disposed of its remaining 1.8 percent interest in the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and earlier this year disclosed plans to exit its 55 percent interest in Canadian Aged Care, a network of retirement homes in Ontario, Canada, via an IPO.

Including the Arqiva sale, the three transactions are expected to leave the fund with a cumulative cash balance of S$474 million at the end of May 2010, according to the statement. Stuart said Macquarie may use the cash to make additional investments, pay a special dividend or buy back shares.

The value of the firm’s remaining investments – a wind farm, a Taiwanese broadband communications company, a Chinese toll road and port – is S$523 million, Macquarie said.

The firm’s stood at S$.54 per share before the start of the trading day in Singapore.