By Rhys Haynes The Daily Telegraph February 22, 2011 1:54AM
MACQUARIE Bank will install and operate hundreds of new speed cameras across the state after winning a $300 million takeover battle for the current operator, Melbourne-based Redflex.
The bank that already owns stakes in Sydney Airport, radio, property and finance, has found room in its appetite to outbid rivals for Redflex, reported The Daily Telegraph.
If the $307 million bid is approved, Macquarie Bank will take over the company in June. It will then install and operate a large chunk of the state's fixed digital speed cameras and safety cameras, and will have the monopoly contract for all mobile speed cameras, point-to-point cameras, bus lane cameras and vehicle emission cameras.
There are currently 58 safety cameras located at intersections across the state, but that number will grow to 200 over the next four years.
Revenue is rapidly increasing in line with the new additions, with $1.75 million worth of infringement notices sent out during the month of January, compared to $27,716 in January last year.
Safety camera revenue raised for the last seven months was $7.23 million, including 31,175 drivers caught.
The Daily Telegraph understands Macquarie Bank will not obtain a per fine or dollar amount for its operations, but will be paid in lump-sum amounts for contracts. Redflex currently holds about $5 million worth of state contracts, including the new mobile speed operation.
It earned $2.1 million for the 12-month contract to initially operate the fleet of six camera vehicles at traffic black spots across the state. The new mobile operation has claimed $876,597 in fines between September last year and January, nabbing almost 6000 drivers.
The company also won a $1.98 million contract last year to supply and install the safety cameras, and two years ago picked up $750,000 for point-to-point speed cameras used in the state's west.
Last year's state Budget estimated revenue from fines will almost double from $295 million in 2008-09 to $570 million in 2011-12.
And drivers are on notice there are more cameras to come, with Redflex chairman Max Findlay saying the operation is likely to grow.
"The board is extremely positive about Redflex's stand-alone growth prospects and a number of recent technology advancements and other initiatives should add significant value to the business," he said.
The company urged its shareholders to accept the bid by Macquarie, having rejected a $275 million approach last year.
Its shares surged 35c, or 15.6 per cent, to close at $2.59, the highest since rumours of a takeover started midway through last year.