Quebec pension fund invests in Australian electricity network

MONTREAL – The Quebec pension plan is part of a consortium that is spending $9.9 billion to acquire a 99-year lease for TransGrid, the owner and operator of the electricity transmission network in New South Wales in Australia.

The network spans close to 13,000 kilometres and serves Sydney and Canberra, the country’s economic and political capitals.

The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is part of a consortium called NSW Electricity Networks, which includes two Australian investment firms and two other companies.

The pension fund will hold 24.99 per cent equity in the project, which represents an investment of $1.15 billion.

The Quebec fund has been active in Australia since 2012 through a number of investments in social infrastructure.

With its partner Plenary, the fund acquired 30 per cent of the Port of Brisbane in 2013 while its real estate subsidiary, Ivanhoe Cambridge, acquired 25 per cent of a high-quality office building complex in Sydney earlier this year.

“The acquisition of the TransGrid lease is in line with our strategy to invest in high-quality assets, alongside local partners with sophisticated knowledge of the market and vast operational expertise,” said fund vice-president Macky Tall.

“TransGrid’s regulated revenues will generate stable and predictable returns for our clients over the long term.”

As at June 30, 2015, the pension fund held $240.8 billion in net assets.