A consortium of investment firm Stonepeak and industry super fund Spirit Super has signed a definitive agreement to buy 100% of GeelongPort, which is the second largest port of Victoria, Australia.

GeelongPort is located around 75km south-west of Melbourne and within Geelong, the largest regional city of Victoria.

According to the terms of the deal, Stonepeak will hold a 70% interest in the port on behalf of its managed funds and accounts, while Spirit Super will own a 30% stake.

A diversified port, GeelongPort has been considered a major driver of Victoria’s economy for more than 150 years, handling upwards of A$7bn of trade and supporting over 1,800 jobs across the state.

Besides having access to logistics routes for trade through road, rail and air, GeelongPort has channel connections to Geelong and south-west Victoria’s supply chains.

Stonepeak and Spirit Super’s long-term investment will support GeelongPort in its continued efforts to expand relationships with important business partners.

The port consists of 15 berths over two primary precincts, Corio Quay and Lascelles Wharf. It offers land, infrastructure and services to facilitate trade for businesses in Victoria.

The port handles about 12 million tons of cargo and more than 600 vessel visits annually.

Stonepeak senior managing director Darren Keogh said: “As a high-quality landlord port with operations that are critical to Australia’s economy, GeelongPort is a natural fit for Stonepeak’s core infrastructure strategy.

“It is a highly contracted entity with strong barriers to entry and stable and predictable demand drivers, which we believe are even more compelling when coupled with the port’s meaningful opportunities for long-term growth through additional development to meet future import-export demand in the region. We look forward to working closely with the GeelongPort team to help further their objectives and invest behind this integral component of the Victorian economy.”

Spirit Super chief investment officer Ross Barry said: “We are excited for what our investment will mean for the long-term growth of GeelongPort and pleased that members will now own a direct stake in one of Australia’s largest regional infrastructure assets.

“As the fund for hard working Australians, a key investment focus for the fund has been regional Australia, where we believe there is strong potential for long-term growth.”

The deal is expected to complete towards the end of Q1 2023, subject to customary approvals from regulatory authorities.

Gresham Partners served as financial advisor to the consortium of Stonepeak and Spirit Super, while King & Wood Mallesons was legal advisor and Clayton Utz was tax advisor.