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UK pension scheme buys Brisbane railway

One of the United Kingdom's largest pension schemes has completed its acquisition of Brisbane's privately owned and operated railway, Brisbane Airtrain.

A subsidiary of the Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (USS), USS Axle acquired Airtrain Holdings Limited, Brisbane Airtrain's parent company.

The pension fund's principal investment manager and adviser, USS Investment Management Limited (USSIM), brokered the deal and will manage the investment on behalf of USS.

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A period of exclusivity in December led to Airtrain Holdings Limited entering into a binding agreement with USS Axle and completing the A$110 million deal on 21 December 2012.

It was implemented under a scheme of arrangement in which USS Axle acquired the issue share capital of Airtrain Holdings Limited.

USS was advised by CP2 Limited, which will retain a 1 per cent stake in Airtrain Holdings and will continue to manage the investment on USS's behalf.

The deal follows approval from the Queensland Department of Transport, the Foreign Investment Review Board and majority approval from Airtrain Holdings' shareholders.

Airtrain has reported a compound annual growth rate in underlying passenger trips of 8.4 per cent since 2007, and 2012 earnings of AUD$6.6 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

USS has made a range of investments into Australia's transport infrastructure including the private takeover of ConnectEast, which operates EastLink toll road in Melbourne and the Airport Link rail company in Sydney.




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