ICAM eyes more infrastructure investment on Eyre Peninsula

Original Article from The Advertiser
Giuseppe Tauriello


Fund manager ICAM is eyeing investment in major infrastructure projects to support an expected economic boom around SA’s Upper Spencer Gulf.



Adelaide-based fund manager ICAM is eyeing more investment in major infrastructure projects, including a potential expansion of its $185m port at Lucky Bay, as it looks to play a key role supporting the multi-billion dollar pipeline of renewable energy, green manufacturing and copper projects slated around South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf.



Former Adelaide Oval chief executive Andrew Daniels, who took over as chair last year, is spearheading a push to grow ICAM’s funds past $1bn by the end of the year through a mix of property acquisitions and infrastructure projects.



His appointment came as part of a board and ownership shake-up resulting in the exit of early backers Rob Chapman, Ed Peter and Jim Hazell, who helped grow ICAM’s portfolio from its first acquisition in 2016 to more than $700m worth of properties and alternative investments.



Around 90 per cent of ICAM’s assets are located in South Australia, including the port facility at Lucky Bay, which was the first new port to open in the state when it shipped its first grain in 2020.



And it’s in that region – Eyre Peninsula and Upper Spencer Gulf – where Mr Daniels sees a major opportunity for ICAM to leverage the pipeline of private and government-backed projects dubbed by the state government as the State Prosperity Project.



They include the state government’s $593m hydrogen hub at Port Bonython, the green transformation of the Whyalla steelworks, the Northern Water desalination and pipeline project and BHP’s plans to create a world-leading copper province in the state’s Far North.





“Our target is to get to a billion in funds under management, and then keep growing from there,” Mr Daniels said.


Former Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority CEO Andrew Daniels. Picture: James Elsby

“A huge potential there is linking in with the government’s current agenda with what’s happening on Eyre Peninsula – whether it be the Northern Water project, the hydrogen project, copper with BHP – there is so much activity happening on Eyre Peninsula and we’re there with a brand new developed port at Lucky Bay.



“The fact that there’s going to be between $10bn and $20bn worth of investment happening in that region – the road network is under pressure, the rail network’s under pressure, and even the port network’s under pressure, so there’s potential for us to further develop that.



“We can develop that port to whatever is needed to support the infrastructure developments on the Eyre Peninsula, and because of what we do at ICAM, there’s other infrastructure developments on Eyre Peninsula now that we’re looking at.”



Mr Daniels said ICAM was investigating the “best and highest uses” for the more than 200ha of undeveloped land at the Lucky Bay site, which has been operating primarily as a grain storage and export facility, but has the potential to service other industries including mining.



ICAM is also considering further development of its second port – a $103m facility at Wallaroo – which shipped its first grain early last year.



ICAM managing director Freddy Bartlett said several property acquisitions were also nearing completion as ICAM looked to capitalise on demographic shifts that would underpin ongoing demand in sectors including retail and seniors living.



“There’s three areas we’re quite bullish on,” he said.



“We think there’s a shortage of industrially zoned, approved land and strategic retail, so grocery-anchored retail. With the increasing population across Australia, that needs to be serviced, and we think there’s a shortage of strategic retail properties.



“The third one is seniors living or retirement living, where you’ve got an ageing population in Australia, and we’ve got an accommodation problem – we don’t have enough housing. So we’re pretty keen to build that space out as well.”



Mr Daniels said that while ICAM would maintain a strong focus on attracting interstate and overseas capital into South Australia, it was also exploring investment opportunities in other states.



“We really want to become a serious player on a national basis and be a conduit for more capital to come into South Australia,” he said.



“But we also need to spread our risk … so getting some geographical spread is important. We’ve got a couple of small investments in Victoria and in Queensland, and we are looking at some others.”



ICAM is looking to add to its board, which comprises of Mr Daniels, Mr Bartlett and Bentleys SA chairman Michael Ruggiero, who joined last year.