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AustralianSuper prepares for U.S. infrastructure play

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AustralianSuper prepares for U.S. infrastructure play

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The head of Australia’s biggest pension fund, AustralianSuper, expects state governments in the United States will cast aside parochial concerns and allow foreign funds to invest and fix up poor infrastructure there. Governments, including those in the United States and Australia, have been wary of foreign investment, frustrating plans by some major overseas investors. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has also pledged a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that is attracting global interest. AustralianSuper Chief Executive Ian Silk, whose fund manages A$120 billion (72.46 billion pounds), said at a Reuters Newsmaker event on Thursday in Sydney that U.S. infrastructure needs would ultimately outweigh foreign investment concerns. “When push comes to shove they’ll balance the parochialism with the party who is prepared to write the biggest cheque,” said Silk. “Its physical infrastructure is surprisingly poor for such a wonderful country,” said Silk, adding they had seen an increased interest by some state governments to use foreign funding. Some Australian states have engaged in a so-called asset-recycling scheme, which relies on governments selling or leasing state-owned infrastructure to private companies with the proceeds invested into new projects. In Australia, the federal government also previously provided cash incentives to states that put public assets into private hands.

(Reporting by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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