The $22 million+ in fees for MacBank from
Macquarie Infrastructure Group spinning off its Sydney toll roads is a furphy,
according to MIG CEO Stephen Allen.

The figure, suggested by the SMH and repeated by Crikey (30/3, item 22) – we considered the Fee Factory was having one last
long suck on the baby’s candy – seems to have been plucked out of the air, Allen
told us.

There will of course be fees for MacBank,
but not of that order if the Son-of-MIG goes the expected way of distribution
to existing MIG shareholders. There’s a PDS to be prepared and a book-build to
be run for those MIG shareholders – mainly the growing number of foreign
investors – who would want to sell out of the new vehicle.

On the buy side, the lower management fees,
franking credits and generous inflation-proof toll escalation clauses make it a
natural for superannuation funds, but all the fun and fees won’t happen until
the second half of the year.

And while on the MIG case, given the scale
of its US ambitions and the Americans’ newfound sensitivity about foreign
ownership of infrastructure, we can’t help wondering about the possibly urgent
need for the Fee Factory to have US-citizenship for an MIG-type vehicle to avoid
the occasional xenophobic Senator or Congressman.

The embarrassing kerfuffle about Dubai
Ports buying six P&O operations in the US was
all about paranoid America not trusting any Arabs or Muslims, let alone both, but now they
have to dress that prejudice in a general “foreigners” cloak.

Peter Fray

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