Canadian pension funds to buy Chicago toll road operator for $2.8 bln: Reuters

Three of Canada’s largest pension fund managers said on Friday that they would acquire the operator of the Chicago Skyway toll road for US$2.8 billion.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will each own a one-third interest in Skyway Concession Co LLC, which has an agreement to operate the road until 2104.

Each of the three Toronto-based pension fund managers will contribute an equity investment of about US$512 million toward the deal, which remains subject to regulatory approvals.

The 7.8-mile (12.8 km) Chicago Skyway is the only Illinois toll highway not operated by the state Toll Highway Authority. SCC was awarded operation rights on the road in January 2005 for US$1.83 billion.

“Skyway represents a rare opportunity for us to invest in a mature and significant toll road of this size in the U.S.,” Cressida Hogg, CPPIB’s head of infrastructure, said in a joint statement.

“This investment fits well with CPPIB’s strategy to invest in core infrastructure assets with long-term, stable cash flows in key global markets,” Hogg said.

The three pension funds and peers like Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, British Columbia Investment Management Corp and Alberta Investment Management Corp manage vast amounts of capital and have emerged in the last few years as big investors in infrastructure assets outside Canada.

The fund managers, which are scouting for long-life revenue-generating assets, have made significant bets in physical assets like farmland, forests, ports, real estate and hydro-electric power projects.

CPPIB, the largest of the group, managed net assets valued at $272.9 billion as of the end of September. It had invested about $19.5 billion of that in infrastructure.

Ralph Berg, OMERS global head of infrastructure, said the Skyway investment fit with the fund’s goal of acquiring North American infrastructure assets.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Von Ahn)

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

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