OTPP sells its 30% stakes in Bristol, Birmingham Airports to TCorp and Sunsuper

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By Ted Liu

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP, Ontario Teachers’) has agreed to sell 30% of its stakes in both Bristol and Birmingham Airports to Australia’s New South Wales Treasury Corporation (TCorp), as trustee of TCorpIM Direct Investment Fund E, and Sunsuper Pty Limited, as trustee of Sunsuper Superannuation Fund.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to complete in late November.

Following completion, Ontario Teachers’, TCorp and Sunsuper will own 70.0%, 15.0% and 15.0% of Bristol Airport and 33.8%, 7.2% and 7.2% of Birmingham Airport.

Seven Metropolitan Boroughs of West Midlands and airport employees own the remaining stakes in Birmingham Airport.

“Working with like-minded partners who bring new ideas, capital and expertise to the table is core to our broader investment strategy,” said Andrew Claerhout, Senior Managing Director, Infrastructure and Natural Resources at Ontario Teachers’. “We look forward to TCorp and Sunsuper joining us as shareholders, alongside the strong teams at Bristol and Birmingham and Ontario Teachers’ enduring partnership with the District authority shareholders in Birmingham. Under the new shareholder structure we will continue to focus on creating long-term value for all stakeholders including the 19 million passengers who fly through these two airports every year.”

Ontario Teachers’ is the largest private investor in airports in Europe, with holdings in five freehold airports: Copenhagen Airports, Brussels Airport, Bristol Airport, Birmingham Airport and London City Airport. Ontario Teachers’ has been an investor in Bristol and Birmingham Airports since 2001, increasing its stakes to 100% (Bristol) and 48.25% (Birmingham) in 2014 with the intention of bringing in new partners.

“In addition to the attractive investment characteristics of the individual airports, TCorp was particularly interested in this investment because of the opportunity to partner with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Sunsuper, both experienced and like-minded global infrastructure investors,” said Stewart Brentnall, TCorp Chief Investment Officer. “We are excited about working with our partners, not only on this investment but also on future opportunities. TCorp has a strategy of building long-term relationships with other sophisticated investors, which we believe will help to deliver value to our clients and members, both for managing existing investments and for identifying new investment opportunities.”

“Sunsuper is an experienced investor in the Australian airport sector, and we are excited to expand our existing portfolio by adding stakes in two high-quality UK airports in Bristol and Birmingham,” said Michael Weaver, Head of Private Markets at Sunsuper. “We believe that investments in the infrastructure sector provide greater scope for value creation through responsible stewardship, governance and proactive management of assets to create value for our members. We look forward to our ongoing involvement in the Bristol and Birmingham airports, with a key focus on delivering high-quality outcomes for all passengers and stakeholders.”

Bristol Airport is the ninth largest airport in the UK with 7.5 million passengers in 2016, and Birmingham Airport is the seventh largest airport in the UK with 11.6 million passengers in 2016.

photo credit: Bristol Airport