Queensland Motorways sneaks past rival

In the end, the sale of RiverCity was a photo finish with just $10 million separating the winning bidder from its nearest rival.

Queensland Motorways Ltd. beat out infrastructure investor Access Capital Advisers and Macquarie Group Ltd. by less than $10 million to win the auction of bankrupt toll road operator RiverCity Motorway Group by agreeing to pay its receiver KordaMentha $618 million.

That price includes $33 million for taxes and other costs, giving a value of RiverCity as an asset of $585 million -- considerably lower than the price its distressed debt was trading at that gave the company a value of about $750 million.

Other RiverCity bidders included a group consisting of Spanish conglomerate Abertis Infraestructuras SA and Hastings Funds Management. UBS Infrastructure, an asset management unit of the Swiss bank, also sought to buy RiverCity.

UBS’ Australian merger and acquisitions bankers advised Queensland Motorways. The deal will help boost the league table ranking of UBS, currently No. 4 in M&A rankings so far this year in Australia and New Zealand in pending and completed deals, according to Bloomberg data.

Macquarie Group Ltd. is ranked No. 1 in M&A, followed by Lazard Ltd and Morgan Stanley.    

There may be further work for UBS’ bankers. Next year BrisConnections Group, operator of the toll road that links Brisbane’s central business district with the city’s northern suburbs and airport, may be sold in an auction by its receivers PPB Advisory.

UBS may be become the infrastructure bankers of choice in Australia if they can win BrisConnections for Queensland Motorways, whose chief executive Brendan Bourke is keen to expand its toll road empire that currently encompasses 62 kilometres of toll roads and bridges.

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