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AMP, Hastings, Asciano Said to Consider Bids for Newcastle Port

AMP Ltd. (AMP), Hastings Funds Management Ltd. and a group led by Asciano Ltd. (AIO) are weighing bids for a long-term lease for Australia’s Newcastle port, which may fetch as much as A$700 million ($617 million), said five people with knowledge of the matter.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) and its Infrastructure and Real Assets fund is also studying financial information for the port, the world’s biggest export harbor for coal used in power stations, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details are private. Asciano is bidding together with a real estate investment unit of Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), the people said. Indicative bids are due early next month.

New South Wales, the state that owns Newcastle port, in June announced plans to lease it out to raise funds for other infrastructure projects. The state government in April sold 99-year leases for Port Botany and Port Kembla for A$5.1 billion to a group including IFM Investors Pty and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Imre Salusinszky, a spokesman for New South Wales Treasurer Mike Baird, declined to comment. The government was “pleased with the response from potential bidders,” Baird said in a Dec. 13 statement. A spokeswoman for AMP said she couldn’t immediately comment. Spokesmen for Macquarie, Asciano and Hastings declined to comment.

Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN), the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, Peabody Energy Corp. and Rio Tinto Group are among companies that ship coal from Newcastle to countries such as Japan, South Korea and China. The energy fuel represents more than 90 percent of goods sent through the port, according to its website.

A record 150.5 million metric tons of coal was exported from Newcastle last year, up from 133.8 million tons in 2012, New South Wales said in a Jan. 10 statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brett Foley in Melbourne at bfoley8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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