On Monday, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), the Canadian-headquartered, global institutional investor that manages CAD 390 billion (about $304 billion) in client assets, announced that it has joined an investor consortium to buy out the New South Wales government’s 49 percent stake in Australia’s WestConnex highway project for AUD $11.1 billion (about $8 billion).
WestConnex is Australia’s largest road infrastructure project, a 70km motorway linking the west and southwest regions of Sydney to the city center, Sydney Airport and Port Botany. In making the investment, CDPQ will join Sydney Transport Partners (STP), the investor consortium, led by listed toll road operator Transurban, that will now own 100 percent of WestConnex, marking a significant strategic partnership between CDPQ and Transurban, as well.
WestConnex is Australia‘s largest road infrastructure project and is a major part of the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s integrated transport plan to support Sydney’s growth. By 2031, 40 percent of Sydney’s population is expected to live within 5 kilometers of WestConnex. The project includes 33 km of new or improved motorway and 37 km of existing road assets. WestConnex also includes connections for future projects linking the north shore and northern beaches, Sydney Airport, Port Botany and the southern suburbs.
CDPQ notes that the highway’s significant network of new tunnels also provide traffic with an underground alternative, allowing surface roads to be returned to communities and creating a positive legacy by delivering 18 hectares of new parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities.
“WestConnex plays a critical role for Sydney residents, offering faster, safer and more efficient routes around Sydney,” said CDPQ Executive Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure Emmanuel Jaclot. “As a longstanding infrastructure investor in Australia, CDPQ is thrilled to join forces with Transurban and Sydney Transport Partners in acquiring a stake in WestConnex, an investment which aligns with our strategy targeting high-quality infrastructure alongside partners with extensive market knowledge and operational expertise.”
CDPQ is a significant investor in Australia and New Zealand. CDPQ has been active in infrastructure, logistics, real estate and private equity, with recent investments including Healthscope, a private hospital operator, and Sydney Metro. CDPQ is also a shareholder and long-term partner of Plenary Group, having invested in several Plenary-originated Australian PPP projects since 2012. It also holds a 22.5 percent interest in TransGrid, the electricity transmission network of the State of NSW and the Australian Capital Territory, and 26.7 percent in Port of Brisbane.