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CPPIB motors into €376m car park deal

Canadian investor back into a car park group by taking a 39 percent stake in a company with 657 venues in Europe

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has taken a minority but sizeable stake in a European car parking operator for €376 million.

The 39 percent interest has been bought by the Canadian investor in Interparking, one of Europe’s biggest car parking groups, from Belgium’s AG Real Estate, which is a subsidiary of AG Insurance, the new name given to the company after the demise of Fortis Group in 2009. PARKIMO, an existing shareholder, will retain its 10 percent in the company.

The deal mirrors institutional interest in car parks as an asset class elsewhere in the world, most notably in Asia in the past 18 months. The Dutch pension fund asset management group APG, teamed up with China Resource Holdings, Macquarie Bank and Wilson Parking Hong Kong to form a £265 million vehicle in February last year.

But even more recently, LimeTree Capital Partners, a private equity real estate firm launched by former Deutsche Asset Management Asia chief executive James Goulding, closed its first car park fund above its hard cap, according to a company spokesman. An announcement on July 10 said it had raised $339 million having launched the fund 18 months ago.

Those two examples were not identical, however, because LimeTree simultaneously set up a company to manage and improve the car parks it invests in, called WePark (Huibo) Car Park Management, whereas APG’s vehicle has an outsourced management model.

Interparking, for its part, boasts 657 car parks in cities, mainly in Belgium and Germany.

Andre Bourbonnais, senior vice-president and head of private Investments at CPPIB, said: “Interparking is a good fit with our infrastructure program because of the relatively stable, predictable cash flows”.

He added it aligned well with “CPPIB's exceptional long-term investment horizon”.