Sale of Indiana Toll Road lease-holder closes for $5.7B

Notice has been filed in federal bankruptcy court in Chicago that Australian investment consortium IFM Investors has closed on its $5.72 billion purchase of another company and its lease on the Indiana Toll Road.

Toll Road operator ITR Concession Co. declared bankruptcy in September on more than $6 billion in debt. The Australian buyer promises major improvements for the 157-mile roadway across northern Indiana.

The Times in Munster reports that IFM Investors plans to invest $260 million in capital improvements on the Indiana Toll Road over the next five years. The new CEO of ITR Concession, which will continue operating the toll road under IFM Investors' ownership, says improvements will be made to deteriorating travel plazas and pavement.

The Indiana Finance Authority gave its consent two weeks ago for operations to be transferred from ITR Concession to IFM Investors.

ITR Concession's parent company, Spanish-Australian consortium Cintra-Macquarie, paid Indiana $3.8 billion in 2006 for a 75-year lease of the 157-mile highway. But ITR Concession's toll revenue didn't meet expectations because traffic fell because of the recession, according to court documents.

Top ITR executives were expected to split $2.45 million in bonuses once the acquisition by IFM was completed.

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