Aussie Upstart By Leslie P. Norton
Highlighted companies: Macquarie Global Infrastructure Utilities & Dividend Income (NYSE:MFD), Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return (NYSE:MGU), and Macquarie Infrastructure Co. (NYSE:MIC)
Summary: Allan Moss' Australian Macquarie Bank has managed to acquire some of the most recognized American infrastructure assets, including One California Plaza in Los Angeles, Wells Fargo Center in Denver, the Chicago Skyway and Indiana Toll Road, becoming in the process the largest foreign investor in U.S. real estate. Macquarie earnings have more than tripled in the past five years, and the investment bank currently sports a market cap of $11.5. Since its Australian IPO in 1996, the stock has returned more than 1400%. Macquirie funds that invest in real estate and infrastructure have attracted a great deal of international interest; three are traded in the US (listed above). Australia's mandatory 9% salary deduction for retirement contributes greatly to Macquarie's success, providing constant asset inflows, but Macquarie is now facing greater domestic competition for infrastructure investment and higher international interest rates raise costs for its highly leveraged deals.
Quick comment: As noted, there are very few publicly-traded infrastructure plays, so given Macquarie's liquidity and considerable 'seed assets,' the funds and Australian-listed stock tend to attract investors who are in for the long haul.