Canadian pension funds still love airports, judging by the latest deal of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

On Tuesday, PSP Investments said it purchased a 40 per cent interest in Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC, operator of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The balance of Aerostar is held by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste S.A.B. de C.V. (ASUR), which already owned 50 per cent and picked up an additional 10 per cent stake.

 

The seller was funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., and the combined new purchases by PSP and ASUR were valued at US$430 million.

“This acquisition is an excellent fit with PSP Investments’ long-term investment philosophy and leverages the capabilities of AviAlliance, our airport platform,” said Patrick Charbonneau, managing director of infrastructure investments at PSP.

AviAlliance holds interests in the airports of Athens, Budapest, Düsseldorf and Hamburg. With the latest investment in Aerostar, airports will represent more than 15 per cent of PSP Investments’ infrastructure portfolio, a spokesperson for the pension investment manager said.

The latest deal comes amid speculation that the Canadian government is mulling the sale airports, or stakes in them, to private interests to raise funds. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has been valued at $5 billion, according to media reports.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board chief executive Mark Machin told the Financial Post earlier this year that CPPIB would look at any Canadian airport put on the block.

“We know airports, we like airports, we’d be interested if something happened,” he said during an interview in March.

A group of Canadian pension investment managers including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, OMERS, and Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) joined a consortium last year to purchase London City Airport.

Teachers’ had already acquired a 39 per cent stake in Brussels Airport, and a 30 per cent of Denmark’s Copenhagen airport in 2011.

bschecter@postmedia.com