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Macquarie nearing sale of Poland's Gdansk port terminal to SWF-led group - sources

By Dasha Afanasieva, Clara Denina and Agnieszka Barteczko

LONDON/WARSAW, Dec 20 (Reuters) - A consortium of investors including the Poland's sovereign wealth fund PFR is close to buying the country's DCT Gdansk port terminal, owned by the infrastructure fund of Australia's Macquarie, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Macquarie launched the sale of the Polish port terminal, which the sources said could be valued at around 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), over the summer with the help of Goldman Sachs.

The sale would mean a state entity will hold a stake in the strategic asset. Poland's government, run by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, has said the country was too dependant on foreign investors, who bought into the country in the 1990s and 2000s and aims to buy back strategic assets.

The winning consortium also includes Australian infrastructure group IFM Investors and the world's largest port operator PSA international, two of the sources said.

Macquarie, DCT Gdansk, IFM, PSA and Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. PFR declined to comment.

DCT Gdansk, the only deep-sea port facility in Poland, is an important hub for container vessels traffic between the Far East and the Baltic countries. It attracted the interest of strategic companies looking at expanding their footprint in the region.

The sources said that Chinese investors, including state-owned shipping group COSCO, who typically prefer container ports, had considered an offer for DCT Gdansk as part of an effort to boost trade and connectivity between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Cosco has operated a container port in Piraeus in Greece since 2008.

Poland's state-owned PFR was created in 2016 as part of the government's effort to own stakes or assets in the country's strategic industries, including energy and infrastructure.

It recently bought a stake in the country's bus manufacturer Solaris and participated in the capital increase of domestic bank BOŚ Bank. It also owns stakes in the Polish Baltic Shipping Company and train producer PESA, according to its website.

Australian infrastructure investor IFM has invested in Poland over the past decade, with a stake in heating operator Veolia Energia Polska. In 2017, it bought Mersin International Port in Turkey.

One of the sources said IFM was working with Swiss investment bank UBS for the purchase.

UBS declined to comment. ($1 = 0.8795 euros) (Additional reporting by Anna Koper in Warsaw; editing by David Evans)