Philippine-based International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) said on Friday its Australian unit would invest up to A$548 million ($508 million) to build and operate port facilities in Melbourne.
ICTSI told the Philippine Stock Exchange its Victoria International Container Terminal Ltd unit signed a 26-year contract with the Port of Melbourne Corporation to build, operate and finance a terminal and container park in the city, Australia's largest hub for containerised cargo.
The investment in the terminal development is estimated at A$439 million for the first two phases, which will be operational by 2017. Further investments of A$109 million are likely to increase capacity, ICTSI said.
The planned terminal would have capacity of about 1.4 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU), while the container park would have a capacity of 280,000 TEUs.
Victoria International is 90 percent owned by ICTSI, with the remaining held by Australia's Anglo Ports Pty Ltd.
ICTSI shares rose as much as 5.5 percent on Friday following the announcement of the deal. The benchmark Manila index was up 0.6 percent as of 0615 GMT.
ICTSI, owned by the Philippines' fourth-richest person, Enrique Razon, operates the Southeast Asian country's biggest ports and has terminal concessions and port development projects in more than a dozen other countries including China and the United States.
($1 = 1.0785 Australian Dollars)
(By Siegfrid Alegado; editing by Stephen Coates)