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OTTP eyes Asia to grow C$15bn infra portfolio

With the exception of Australia, the Canadian pension does not have exposure to Asian infrastructure.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is actively looking for investments in Asian infrastructure to grow its C$15 billion ($11 billion; €10 billion) infrastructure portfolio, a source familiar with the Canadian pension's plan told Infrastructure Investor.

OTPP does not have infrastructure exposure to the region, with the exception of Australia. The source indicated the pension is looking at a wide range of options, which could include direct investments and/or funds, and various sectors.

The Canadian pension, historically focused on core infrastructure assets in OECD countries, first signalled its intention to widen its geographical footprint in May 2015. At the time, head of infrastructure Andrew Claerhout said high valuations had prompted the pension to rethink its strategy, as it seeks to increase its overall infrastructure exposure to C$18 billion.

Following an internal review, “we determined that we needed to be more open-minded in terms of the geographies we were looking at, in terms of the sectors that we were pursuing, in terms of the stage of development of infrastructure that we were getting involved in and in terms of the capability and focus that we bring to the value-creation exercise once we invest in a company,” Claerhout commented at the time.

That led the pension to add Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Central Europe and parts of Asia to the list of countries and regions it would consider investing in. Since then, OTTP has been visibly active in Latin America, recently partnering with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to invest in Mexican infrastructure.

Last week , OTTP, together with Universities Superannation Scheme, bought UK crematorium operator Westerleigh Group from French manager Antin Infrastructure Partners. The deal can also be seen as an example of the pension's willingness to go beyond core infrastructure.

In May 2015, Claerhout had said: “When I talk about new sectors, I'm talking about assets that reside in the cracks between private equity and infrastructure, which with one hand on our hearts we can say 'this checks enough boxes to be considered infrastructure.'”