End of the Toll Road?

The financial alchemists at Macquarie Group, Australia's biggest investment bank, never managed to turn lead into gold, but they hit on the next best thing: turning asphalt into cash. In May, the bank's shareholders welcomed a $1.3 billion profit, thanks largely to a new way of looking at highways, airports and power stations.

The idea behind the Macquarie model is to borrow a lot of money cheaply, buy infrastructure assets with a guaranteed cash flow, then sell those assets to the public, letting shareholders take over the debt. Macquarie and imitators...

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