As Pensions Continue to Pursue Infrastructure, Ontario Teachers’ Acquires Parking Service

Just one week after increasing its airport holdings, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has acquired Impark, the third largest parking service company in North America, in a move indicative of pension funds’ increasing interest in infrastructure.

(July 27, 2011) – The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) has made another investment in the infrastructure market, acquiring Babcock & Brown Gates Parking Investments LLC (BBGPI), the fund announced yesterday.

The move comes at a time when infrastructure investments are increasingly popular among pension funds. Last week, aiCIO reported on a Preqin study that revealed increased closings and more ambitious funding goals for infrastructure funds.

BBGPI’s flagship holding is Imperial Parking Corporation (Impark), the third largest parking service company in North America. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company manages over 400,000 parking spaces in more than 2,000 locations in 25 different markets.

The deal, the terms of which are not being released, was headed by OTPP’s long-term equity group. The group focuses on investments with low risk, long-term growth potential, and a steady cash flow.

Lee Sienna, OTPP’s Vice-President of Long-Term Equities, commented on Impark’s strong fit as an investment for the group. “Impark has established a very strong position within the parking and real estate sectors. As a market leader, it is an excellent fit with our investment criteria of providing reliable income streams, consistent performance and growth opportunities. We look forward to partnering with the Impark management team to continue building the company in Canada and achieving new expansion in key U.S. markets.”

The excitement over the growth prospects stemming from the deal is mutual. Allan Copping, Impark’s CEO said, “We are extremely optimistic about the benefits of Teachers’ investment…The new partnership with Teachers’ will allow Impark to further invest in the technology, processes and people that enable us to deliver innovative parking solutions to our clients and customers. As Impark enters its 50th year, the company is well positioned to develop its core strengths and continue its sustainable growth.”

Impark’s senior vice-president of business development, Julian Jones, also expressed optimism for the deal and its ability to help Impark remain on the cutting edge of parking technologies. Jones noted that Impark hopes to build on pay-by-phone technology and electronic metering by adding smart phone applications and other technologies in the near future, according to an article from the Vancouver Sun.

This deal comes just one week after OTPP made an agreement with Australian airport holder MAp to acquire major stakes in the Copenhagen and Brussels airports. The deal strengthens OTPP’s place as an industry leader in infrastructure investments.

This agreement is not the first time that the acquisition or sale of parking garages has been proposed for pension funds. In January, aiCIO reported that Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl supported selling city parking garages and spaces to raise $220 million to help fund the city’s troubled pension fund.

<p>To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Justin Mundt at <a href=''></a></p>