Global Infrastructure Said to Sell Brisbane Port Stake to Caisse

Global Infrastructure Partners agreed to sell its stake in the Port of Brisbane to Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec for more than A$1 billion ($908 million), according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Canada’s second-largest pension fund beat another Canadian investor, Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc., and local pension fund AustralianSuper Pty for New York-based GIP’s 27 percent stake in the lease to operate the port in Australia’s Queensland state, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. An announcement may be made as soon as today, one of the people said.

Australian infrastructure assets are attracting interest from pension funds and other institutional investors because of a stable investment environment and steady cash flows. Australia’s Industry Funds Management Ltd. and a unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in April led a group of investors that paid A$5.1 billion to lease Port Botany, the nation’s second-biggest container terminal, and Port Kembla.

Melbourne-based IFM, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and QIC Ltd. also own stakes in the Port of Brisbane lease, according to its website. The consortium in 2010 agreed to pay the government of Queensland state A$2.1 billion for the 99-year lease.

IFM had earlier offered to buy GIP’s stake in the port, though GIP opted instead to sell the holding in an auction, people familiar with the matter said Nov. 22. GIP, a closely held private-equity firm, invests in transport, energy, water and waste.

Quebec Pensions

Maxime Chagnon, a spokesman for Caisse, declined to comment. Ari Droga, a GIP representative in Sydney, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Caisse de Depot, which oversees pensions for retirees in the French-speaking province of Quebec, had C$185.9 billion ($175 billion) in assets as of June 30. The fund had C$7.8 billion in investment income in the first six months of 2013.

GIP, a fund backed by Credit Suisse Group AG and General Electric Co., was advised by Morgan Stanley on the sale, the people said Nov. 22. It manages more than $15 billion of assets including Gatwick Airport in the U.K., as well as stakes in London City Airport and Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport, according to its website.

The Australian Financial Review reported the deal earlier.

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