Canadian fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan snaps up 48% of Birmingham Airport

The majority stake in Birmingham Airport remains in the hands of several West Midlands local authorities

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The Independent Online

More British infrastructure passed into the hands of Canadian pensioners yesterday as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan increased its stake in Birmingham Airport to 48.25 per cent. Its purchase of a 19.25 per cent stake is in addition to the 29 per cent it already owned. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The majority stake in Birmingham Airport remains in the hands of several West Midlands local authorities, although Ontario TPP will be the largest single shareholder. The fund hopes to leverage Birmingham’s location and 9.5 million passengers in order to compete more effectively with London and Manchester.

Surprisingly, despite its location, Birmingham Airport is the seventh largest air hub in the country, with fewer passengers than Luton or Edinburgh. Ontario TPP first invested in Birmingham in 2001 and increased its stake in 2007, when the Macquarie Group pulled out.

Although it may sound sedate, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is one of the most actively managed and aggressive pension funds in the world, with assets in excess of $140bn (£90bn). It looks after the retirement funds of almost 310,000 teachers. Through its Infrastructure Group, it already owns $11.7bn of infrastructure assets across the globe. These include airports in Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen, plus the Channel rail link and Camelot, operator of the UK national lottery. It also invests heavily in private equity, technology and real estate.

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