IFM Investors, the pension fund owned global investment manager, has acquired a controlling majority stake in the outstanding commercial debt of the UK’s M6toll road, granting it effective control of the asset.
M6toll is a 43km dual three-lane tolled motorway near Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. Located within the key traffic corridor that links the South-East to the North-West of the UK, it provides an alternative route to one of the main and busiest motorways in the UK. It is the only privately-owned and user-tolled road in the UK, serving predominantly long distance through-traffic and light vehicles. The motorway has a remaining concession life of 37 years.
IFM Investors has a detailed plan to ensure a smooth transition for all stakeholders, including employees, creditors, local communities and government.
The road is currently owned by a consortium of 27 institutional investors and banks, including Commerzbank and Credit Agricole, which took over the asset on under a debt restructuring deal in 2013. In December 2013, the asset was refinanced by its previous owner Macquarie Atlas Roads.
Christian Seymour, Head of Infrastructure, Europe at IFM Investors, commented:
“M6toll has an essential role to play in easing congestion at the heart of the UK motorway network, and we recognise its importance to the community and for commercial users. As a long-term investor investing on behalf of pension funds, including UK local authority pension schemes, we will be focused on operating M6toll responsibly and ensuring its long-term viability.
“M6toll complements our existing portfolio of toll road and other infrastructure investments. We bring significant knowledge from being a hands-on owner of toll roads for over 15 years, in which time we’ve delivered substantial benefit and value to these individual assets and the communities they serve. Under our stewardship, we believe M6toll can provide stable and secure returns for our pension fund investors over many years.”