Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) and China Investment Corporation (CIC) are among a consortium of global institutional investors reportedly acquiring a $2.4 billion stake in an Australian toll road.
The consortium, named Horizon Roads, plans to invest in Eastlink, a highway that runs through the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. An Australian infrastructure fund manager, CP2, has agreed to acquire the asset and has tapped the investors to raise financing. CP2 has around A$2 billion of assets under management.
Media reports in Korea and Australia say investors include NPS, CIC, Korea Teachers Credit Union, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, TIAA-CREF from the United States, Britain’s Universities Superannuation Scheme, APG from the Netherlands and ATP from Denmark.
Of these, NPS appears to be among the biggest participants, reportedly taking a 15% stake valued at $330 million. If the deal goes through, the road will follow the $300 billion pension fund’s acquisition last year of Aurora Place in Sydney, which it won for $690 million. It has investments in similar deals in several other markets, and its real-estate and infrastructure portfolio now exceeds $5 billion.
An executive at NPS, who wished to remain anonymous, says the project is part of its long-term strategy to diversify out of fixed income and more into risk assets, including equities and alternatives, as well as to internationalise the portfolio.
“We chose this project because it will deliver steady and good returns,” the official tells AsianInvestor. He declined to discuss the project’s projected investment returns or pricing.
The deal is not certain. Eastlink’s shareholders are countenancing rival bids and pricing has yet to be finalised. They are planning a meeting to consider Horizon Road’s deal next week, on September 27.