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Morrison PIP Fund in Melbourne convention centre deal

Tuesday 17th August 2010

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Wellington-based investor Morrison & Co is taking a 50% stake in Melbourne’s brand-new convention centre, in a 25-year venture with the developers of the showcase asset, Plenary Group.

The sum invested is confidential under the terms of the agreement between Plenary and Morrison’s vehicle, the Public Infrastructure Partnership (PIP) Fund.  It is the PIP’s first investment since establishment. 

Morrison & Co is also angling to be a lead investor in a proposed New Zealand convention centre under a public-private partnership like the one that saw the Melbourne convention constructed for around A$500 million.

The PIP fund bears no risk around the centre’s revenues or use because it is locked into a rent-only arrangement with the Victorian state government as the tenant.  The state in turn bears all risks and rewards from the exhibitions, conferences and other public events that are staged at the futuristic centre on Exhibition Square, in central Melbourne.


The New Zealand government’s announcement that all capital projects worth more than $25 million should be considered for PPP status was also likely to “lead to more opportunities for the fund,” said PIP Fund’s executive director Steven Proctor.

Morrison & Co is a specialist infrastructure investor with more than NZ$5 million in assets under management, and has the management contract to run the asset portfolio of NZX-listed Infratil Ltd.  The New Zealand Superannuation fund and New Zealand Social Infrastructure Fund are both investors in the PIP Fund.

While there had been no discussion with Plenary Group about a joint Morrison/Plenary bid for the proposed New Zealand convention centre, “it would make a lot of sense,” said Proctor.

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