OMERS sells US Infrastructure to PE firm

Leonard Green’s acquisition of US Infrastructure Corp represents the firm’s foray into energy.

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) will sell the United States Infrastructure Corporation (USIC) for an undisclosed amount to Leonard Green & Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, the pension fund announced on Monday.

The announcement comes three years after OMERS, through its private equity arm OPE, acquired USIC, a provider of outsourcing utility locating services, headquartered in Indianapolis. During OPE’s ownership, USIC acquired Consolidated Utility Services in 2011 expanding its geographic reach and also completed two smaller, tuck-under acquisitions.

“Through these acquisitions and a recovery in construction activity in key US markets, USIC’s revenue has grown over 65 percent during OPE’s ownership,” OPE’s senior managing director and head of US operations, Michael Graham said in a statement.

Through its locating services USIC, which operates in 30 states and one province in Canada, protects utilities’ infrastructure.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, represents Leonard Green’s first investment in the energy sector. Since its founding in 1989, the firm has raised more than $15 billion and has invested in 67 companies, primarily in the consumer goods, retail, distribution, and health care sectors.

With more than C$60 billion ($57.1 billion, €43.5 billion) in net assets and nearly 430,000 members, OMERS is one of Canada’s largest pension funds. In addition to investing in infrastructure, the fund also invests in publicly-traded equities, fixed-income, private equity, and real estate.