The industry super-owned global fund manager is weighing up an acquisition of the toll road operator.
IFM Investors has confirmed that it has acquired a 14.96 per cent stake in toll road operator Atlas Arteria via the IFM Global Infrastructure Fund (GIF).
In a statement on Wednesday, the global fund manager said that it intends to initially request access to certain limited company information from Atlas Arteria before deciding whether to proceed with a non-binding indicative takeover proposal.
“We have substantial experience investing in toll roads globally and we’re attracted to Atlas Arteria’s high-quality assets across France, Germany and the United States,” said IFM global head of infrastructure Kyle Mangini.
“We see this as a great investment and one where returns that are generated can help boost the retirement savings of millions of superannuation and pension fund members, such as nurses, teachers, construction workers and hospitality staff.”
In a separate statement, Atlas Arteria said that it had been advised by IFM of its new holding in the business following the fund manager’s acquisition of securities at $8.10 per share after the market close on Tuesday, $1 above the closing price.
The company said it was also aware of IFM’s request for information and that any proposal would be subject to the satisfactory completion of due diligence by IFM.
“Atlas Arteria has not yet received any such request for information nor any proposal from IFM to acquire additional securities in Atlas Arteria,” the company indicated.
“There is no certainty that any such acquisition proposal will be made by IFM.”
Atlas Arteria’s primary asset is a 31.14 per cent interest in France’s second largest toll road network, the 2,318 km-long APRR.
The company’s share price surged by more than 15 per cent on Wednesday after reports of IFM’s new stake broke.
Owned by Australia’s industry super funds, IFM currently manages a total of $181 billion in assets, including $66 billion through the IFM GIF which has 21 portfolio investments in airports, seaports and toll roads along with energy, water and telecommunication assets.
As part of the Sydney Aviation Alliance consortium, IFM also led the $32 billion takeover of Sydney Airport which was completed in March.
The IFM GIF has about $14 billion of equity invested in toll roads which it said supported more than 370 million trips across the United States, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Europe each year.
“IFM GIF regularly invests in companies that align with its investment priorities and have the potential to deliver returns to its investors and beneficiaries, which include millions of superannuation and pension fund members in Australia and globally,” the firm said.
On becoming a substantial shareholder in Atlas Arteria, IFM said it looked forward to engaging collaboratively with the company’s board and executives in the interests of all stakeholders.
“There is no certainty of progressing to a binding proposal,” the fund manager added.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.
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