Charter Hall Halts Due Diligence on Hastings Management Deal

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--Westpac Banking Corp.'s (WBC.AU) efforts to exit Hastings Management Pty. Ltd. have stumbled after Charter Hall Group (CHC.AU) said Thursday it wouldn't push ahead with further due diligence on its planned acquisition of the global infrastructure-assets business.

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Late last month, Westpac confirmed it was in talks with Charter Hall over a possible sale, subject to the commercial property investor going over Hastings' books, as well as regulatory and board approvals.

Hastings invests on behalf of institutional investors in a broad range of infrastructure equity and debt, including interests in owners of airports including toll roads, airports including Melbourne Airport, seaports such as Port of Newcastle in eastern Australia and Northern Ireland gas distribution company Phoenix Natural Gas.

In February, Hastings bought the outstanding 50% stake in British utility South East Water on behalf of clients including investors within Canada's Desjardins Group. A month later it agreed a secured a debt-investment agreement with Development Bank of Japan Inc. and its DBJ Asset Management Co. arm to target investments in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

Founded in Melbourne in 1994, Hastings now also has offices in Sydney, London, New York, Singapore and Seoul. Westpac bought 51% of the company in October 2002 and the remaining 49% in November 2005.

Neither Westpac or Charter Hall disclosed the financial terms of their proposed deal. Charter Hall's one-sentence statement on Thursday offered no further details.

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Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 16, 2017 20:11 ET (00:11 GMT)