Canadian pension funds take 49 pct stake in Mexican toll road: Reuters

Two of Canada’s largest pension funds have bought a stake in one of Mexico’s biggest toll road concessions from an infrastructure company controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have invested $1.35 billion (US$1.06 billion) for a 49 percent stake in the Arco Norte toll road, a 223-kilometre (139-mile) road that connects the states of Mexico, Puebla, Hidalgo and Queretaro and is a link to major trade corridors.

“Arco Norte represents our first infrastructure investment in Mexico and enables us to invest in an established, modern toll road of significant size,” Cressida Hogg, CPPIB’s global infrastructure head, said in a statement on Thursday.

The deal will see the three groups create a strategic partnership in which Slim’s Ideal will hold 51 percent, with CPPIB having a 29 percent stake and Ontario Teachers’ taking 20 percent. The partnership could be used for further investments in Mexican infrastructure in the future.

“The focus of this deal is on Arco Norte. We’re happy to be in partnership with Ontario Teachers’ and Ideal but we came together to form this vehicle so that ourselves and Teachers’ could invest in Arco Norte,” Hogg said in an interview.

“Clearly there are other opportunities in Mexico, but I think we’ll consolidate this investment that we’ve made and continue to get to know our partners Ideal better. It may be that other opportunities come up down the track, but at the moment we’re just very happy to have done this deal,” she said.

Ideal’s stock rose 7 percent to 22.8 pesos per share in late morning trading.

Update: Cressida Hogg joined CPPIB in 2014 from the infrastructure business of U.K. private equity firm 3i Group.

By Matt Scuffham and Simon Gardner

(Editing by W Simon, Nick Zieminski and Paul Simao)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of PE Hub Canada)

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez