Access Capital Advisers, the US$3.2-billion infrastructure investor, has bought a 70-per-cent stake in LBC Terminals Jersey from Australia’s Challenger Infrastructure Fund and Challenger Life.

Canberra-based Access Capital will own about 2.7 million cubic meters of tank storage facilities for bulk liquid-chemical products that have an enterprise value of US$1 billion. The 11 terminals are located in the US, China, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

Two Australian superannuation funds, unamed clients of Access Capital, own the remaining 30 per cent of LBC Terminals.

Graham Matthews, Access Capital’s chief investment officer, says the business will garner annual net returns of between 12 and 13 per cent.

LBC Terminals has long-term contracts with chemical producers and its facilities often are the only storage facilities in a particular geographic area.

Access Capital has increased its stake in Flinders Ports in South Australia to 49.9 per cent from 36 per cent. Matthews perceives there are additional opportunities to invest in tank terminals and port assets but is staying away from container and stevedoring businesses.

“Container and stevedoring prior to 2008 were perceived as stable infrastructure investments,” says Matthews. “That all changed in 2008 when international container trade plummeted.”

Access Capital has US$8.6 billion in funds under advice. Since 1997 its core infrastructure portfolio has averaged annual net returns of 14 per cent.