Transurban in box seat for QML

Transurban says it is interested in buying the $4 bln Queensland Motorways business.

Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton has declared the toll-road operator would be interested in acquiring the $4 billion Queensland Motorways business from the Queensland Investment Corporation.

QIC is in the process of selecting financial advisers to determine the best structure for any sale, the state-owned superannuation fund said on Friday.

''We think QML is a great asset, they have good people ... It is something we would have a look at.  We could play different roles as an operator, owner, back office, or working with partners,'' Charlton said.

Transurban this morning revealed it would acquire all of the Royal Bank of Scotland's $475 million in debt exposure to the Cross City Tunnel in Sydney.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Transurban said it would also pay an additional fee of up $27.5m over four years to RBS in the event of material traffic outperformance relative to Transurban's base assumptions.

Charlton said if no rival bidder emerged, Transurban expected the total purchase price, including stamp duty. would be $500m.

''We understand the asset, running the Eastern Distributor right next door, and have been watching it for some time.  And pleased to be in a position to acquire the asset over the next few months,'' he said.

The deal with RBS allows Transurban to bid up to the face value of the debt, which is understood to be just under $600m, without any more cost.

The company would also make a material profit if another party materially outbid the value of the debt.

Charlton said a purchase, if it took place at the price suggested, would be value accretive for security holders from day one.

''This is not a high-growth scenario, this is a very modest-growth asset currently.  It is about generating good cashflow for the group,'' he said.

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