CALPERS purchased a 12.7% stake in U.K.’s Gatwick Airport yesterday. Gatwick is the U.K.’s 2nd busiest airport with 200 destinations. This looks like an opportunistic bid for U.K. based cash flows as the pound is discounted and the U.K. economy may take years to rebound.
According to Reuters, “Calpers, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, said on Friday it had committed up to roughly $155 million to Global Infrastructure Partners for a 12.7 percent equity stake in London’s Gatwick Airport.
The commitment marks the first direct infrastructure investment foray by Calpers, the $200 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
It covers the equity purchase price and provisions for bridge costs and future administrative expenses, Calpers said in a statement.
“We are looking for opportunities to invest directly in high-quality infrastructure assets. We see it as a good fit for our burgeoning infrastructure program,” said George Diehr, chairman of Calpers’ investment committee.
Earlier this year, Global Infrastructure Partners, founded by Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and General Electric (GE.N), sold stakes in Gatwick to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, and to South Korea’s National Pension Service.”
Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner of GIP commented: “We are delighted that CalPERS, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated public pension funds, is investing alongside GIP in Gatwick. We look forward to working with CalPERS over the coming years as partners in what we believe will be an outstanding investment for all stakeholders.”
Michael McGhee, the GIP Partner leading the acquisition of Gatwick and now a Director at the airport, added: “This is an exciting time at Gatwick as we work on updating and modernizing the airport to transform the passenger experience. We are pleased that CalPERS has joined GIP and our existing partners as investors in Gatwick as we introduce improved operating procedures and performance enhancements throughout the airport.”
About Global Infrastructure Partners
GIP is an independent infrastructure fund that invests worldwide in infrastructure assets and businesses in both OECD and selected emerging market countries. GIP has offices in New York and London with an affiliate in Sydney and portfolio business operations headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.global-infra.com.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) provides retirement and health benefits to more than 1.6 million public employees, retirees, and their families and more than 3,000 employers in the state of California, United States of America. The CalPERS fund invests in a range of asset classes, with a current market value of approximately $206 billion.
About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick is the UK’s second-largest airport and the world’s busiest single runway airport. It is currently handling approximately 32.5 million passengers a year through its two terminals, on a mix of short and long-haul scheduled, low-cost and charter services. The airport currently serves around 80 airlines flying to over 200 destinations.