Arab funds said to be among bidders for Australia’s Queensland Motorways

Analysts estimated Queensland Motorways could fetch about $4.5bn

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Three investment consortia, some involving funds owned by Gulf Arab governments, plan to lodge indicative bids for Australian state-owned toll road company Queensland Motorways Ltd on Friday, sources close to the transaction said.

The sale would continue the push by Australian state governments to sell off large infrastructure assets to pay for capital works programs. Analysts have estimated Queensland Motorways could fetch about A$5 billion ($4.5bn).

The bidders include a consortium led by Australia's Hastings Funds Management which also includes Kuwait Investment Authority, a government fund, Spanish toll road operator Abertis Infraestructuras and Dutch pension fund APG Algemene Pensioen Groep, said two sources close to the deal who could not be identified as the negotiations were private.

Transurban Group, a major toll road operator in New South Wales and Victoria states, will team up with superannuation fund AustralianSuper and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, another government entity, to make another bid.

A third bid will involve IFM Investors, which is owned by 30 Australian superannuation funds, with Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Borealis Infrastructure, the sources said.

Queensland Investment Corp, the government body selling the asset, said first round bids were due on Friday and would not comment further.

The bidding parties either declined to comment or were not immediately available to comment.