ITA, take a bow for informing us

By Stephen Mayne
January 17, 2008

This was published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, November 14, 1998, following an information meeting for what is now Macquarie Infrastructure Group the previous day.

Infrastructure Trust Australia deserves a pat on the back for yesterday's informative session with unitholders at Sydney's Intercontinental Hotel.

By law, trusts are not obligated to have annual meetings, be it Westfield Trust, the Gandel Retail Trust or Kerry Packer's FXF Trust.

ITA is a trust that owns assets in several controversial tollroad projects, so the temptation would be to not hold any meeting.
However, Macquarie Bank executives Anthony Kahn, Dennis Eager and John Caldon have flown around Australia holding unitholder information sessions.

Yesterday's gathering attracted almost 100 unitholders who asked intelligent questions over an hour and 40 minutes of detailed and highly informative presentations.

ITA confirmed that last month's sale of the Commonwealth Bank's 50 per cent stake in the M5 to Hastings Funds Management for $160 million suggests it will be able to book a handsome profit at the half year given its 50 per cent stake is valued at only $75 million.

The taxpayer-funded $700 million M5 East project will help lift daily M5 traffic flows by almost 60 per cent to 90,000 once it is fully operational.

On hearing a journalist was present, ITA executives were keen to stress the widening of the M5 and extra ramps will also drive this and that owners of the M5 repaid $100 million of debt early to help fund the M5 East.

The Eastern Distributor was portrayed as a magnificent investment because of its monopolistic qualities on the city-to-airport route.

ITA is also exploring ways of further closing alternative routes to the Eastern Distributor and said the free trip to the airport would help attract new paying customers going the other way.