18/08/2015 - 16:00

Market City first out of the blocks

18/08/2015 - 16:00

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The Perth Market Authority's Market City is set to be the first major transaction in the state government’s asset recycling program, as expressions of interest in the fruit and vegetable wholesaler closed with a number of potential bidders.

Market City first out of the blocks
Treasurer Mike Nahan.

The Perth Market Authority's Market City is set to be the first major transaction in the state government’s asset recycling program, as expressions of interest in the fruit and vegetable wholesaler closed with a number of potential bidders.

Bidders will now submit detailed proposals and a winner will be announced in early 2016.

See more: Asset recycling part of funding suite

The wholesaler, which is situated in Canning Vale, has a turnover of around $500 million annually.

Treasurer Mike Nahan said the asset would be an attractive long-term investment, and that the government had received a number of submissions.

"The high level of interest and diverse range of bidders will assure a fair and competitive evaluation process, to deliver outcomes which benefit both the state and the industry," Dr Nahan said.

But the government did not reveal details of the potential bidders.

Last month, it emerged that an agribusiness industry group that represents wholesalers including Galati Group and WA Farm Direct would bid on the site.

That group, the Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries in WA, represents 25 wholesalers operating at the Canning Vale facility, and currently provides services such as quality control and transaction clearing.

The chamber is being advised in the deal by Azure Capital, while the state government has appointed EY and Jones Lang Lasalle to advise on the sale.

An unnamed Chinese player is also reported to have shown interest.

A key sale objective is the sustainable operation of the wholesale market, to ensure continued growth of the Western Australian fruit and vegetable industry. 

A number of conditions will be established as part of the sale process to ensure the continuation of the market for 20 years, including restrictions on the development of the land and protection of the central trading area.

The authority is one of a number of assets under consideration for sale to pay down the state government’s growing debt burden, which is set to peak at around $36 billion.

Other potential sales include Fremantle Ports.

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