Alternative asset manager MA Financial (ASX: MAF) has topped up its investment in Australian marinas with acquisitions totalling $20 million at NSW tourism hotspots Batemans Bay and Port Macquarie.
MA Financial is adding the two marinas to its existing MA Marina Fund, which comprises 10 d’Albora marinas acquired in April for $225 million.
Batemans Bay Marina and Port Macquarie Marina will join the likes of Rushcutters Bay, The Spit and Cabarita Point in Sydney Harbour, and two marinas adjacent to the Melbourne CBD in the MA Marina Fund, which MA Financial says is benefitting from a surge in interest from investors for alternative assets.
“We have received significant interest in the MA Marina Fund from domestic and international investors keen for exposure to defensive, cash-generative assets largely uncorrelated to other asset classes,” says Julian Biggins, the joint-CEO of MA Financial. “These two new facilities will help enhance the fund’s offering.”
Biggins describes the fundamentals and outlook for Australia’s marina market as ‘extremely positive’.
“Boat registration numbers on the east coast continue to rise, outpacing the supply of new marina berths which are limited by a strict regulatory environment and the lack of available and suitably located development land and seabed,” he says.
“We expect the supply-demand dynamic will continue to drive strong revenue and earnings for marina operators.”
The Batemans Bay and Port Macquarie marinas are being acquired from James Marshall, the managing director of real estate investment group and fund manager Marprop Real Estate Investors.
The Sydney-based Marprop, founded by Marshall in 2007 and formerly known as Marshall Property Partners, first acquired the management rights to the NSW marinas in 2015 from Ariadne Australia (ASX: ARA).
Marshall at the time had indicated a desire to grow the group’s marina portfolio, but the two properties are the only marinas currently listed among the group's alternative assets.
Marshall says the sale of the assets to MA Financial is testament to the ‘appeal of well-located marinas in Australia’.
“Port Macquarie and Batemans Bay are among the fastest growing areas in NSW which contribute to their appeal and value,” he says.
“We are confident these popular assets will thrive under the capable and experienced management of MA Financial, ensuring operational continuity for customers and members and successful outcomes for their investors."
MA Financial Group, which has investments in retail, hospitality and other alternative real estate assets, is forecasting continued growth in the sector as investors look to diversify outside of traditional real estate sectors.
The company says institutional allocation to alternative investments has grown dramatically in recent years, with estimates that there will be $23 trillion invested in the sector by 2026 globally while current funds under management are set to double over the next five years.
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