La Caisse, ICA team up on Mexican transport

The Canadian pension will pay $198.7m for a 49% stake in the platform, with Mexico's largest infrastructure company owning the balance.

La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (La Caisse) and Empresas ICA agreed to create a platform dedicated to developing transportation projects in Mexico, the two firms said in a recent joint statement.

ICA, Mexico’s largest infrastructure company whose portfolio includes airports, toll roads, water systems and real estate, will own 51 percent of the partnership, while La Caisse will own the remaining 49 percent for which it will pay MXN$3.01 billion (€184.4 million; $198.7 million), upon closing.

The two partners have already identified four projects that will be included in the platform and they are the existing Acapulco Tunnel, the Mayab toll road, the Rio Verde – Ciudad Valles highway and the La Piedad bypass.

Neither La Caisse nor ICA disclosed further details while a spokesperson for La Caisse declined to comment further until approval from the Mexican government is granted. According to the press release, the companies are targeting a closing date in the second quarter of 2015.

To date, La Caisse which manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance funds in Québec, has invested in developed markets. It recently said it will be focusing on select growth markets, including Mexico, Brazil and India.

The announcement of the partnership with ICA comes just three months after La Caisse announced an agreement with the government of Québec whereby the pension fund will be responsible for the planning, financing, development and operation of major infrastructure projects in the province. The agreement is pending approval from the National Assembly.

La Caisse, whose net assets totalled C$226 billion (€172.3 billion; $185.4 billion) as of December 31, 2014, has been investing in infrastructure for the past 15 years, with the asset class accounting for about 4 percent of the overall portfolio or C$10 billion.

Examples of investments in infrastructure include the Canada Line, the rapid-rail service connecting Vancouver Airport with downtown Vancouver, in which La Caisse participated as lead investor in 2005. In the UK, La Caisse is a shareholder in Heathrow Express, the rail service linking Paddington Station and Heathrow Airport as well as Gatwick Express, the fast train linking central London and Gatwick Airport.