Spirit Super and Palisade Investment Partners are to jointly acquire the Port of Geelong from Brookfield and SAS Trustee Corporation for $1.2 billion.

Spirit Super will hold a 51% stake in the business, known as GeelongPort, and Palisade 49%.

Geelong, about 70km south-west of Melbourne, is Victoria’s second largest port and its largest port for bulk cargoes. GeelongPort deals with about 24% of the state’s shipping trade worth around $7 billion annually and will soon become the Victoria terminal for The Spirit of Tasmania ferry service.

Spirit Super chief investment officer Ross Barry said: “GeelongPort is a compelling core infrastructure opportunity in a sector well known to the consortium and reflects our continued commitment to invest in regional Australia, support regional business and strengthen regional communities.”

Palisade chief executive Roger Lloyd said: “GeelongPort’s diversified trade profile, strategic location and growth potential align with Palisade’s investment philosophy of investing in high quality infrastructure assets with stable and predictable income streams.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of March.

Palisade already owns the port of Portland in western Victoria.

The acquiring consortium received financial advice from Gresham Partners, legal advice from King & Wood Mallesons and tax advice from Clayton Utz.

Spirit Super, which has about $26 billion in funds under management, was formed in 2021 with the merger of MTAA Super and Tasplan.

Palisade is investing in GeelongPort from its flagship $3.37 billion Palisade Diversified Infrastructure Fund and on behalf of a direct investment mandate client. The Palisade Diversified Infrastructure Fund generated annualised gross return of 12.5% and 7.4% income yield over the 10 years to 30 November.

Image: GeelongPort wharves.