Denmark’s biggest pension fund ATP is investing DKK9.76bn (€1.31bn) in Copenhagen Airports, the biggest single investment it has ever made.

The fund is in effect taking over a stake of around 27% in the infrastructure asset from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). The deal will also see ATP enter a partnership with Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) through which the two pension funds will have joint control of the airport.

MIRA’s Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund III is selling its stake in Kastrup Airport Parents (KAP) – the ultimate owner of Copenhagen Airports. OTPP is already a co-owner of KAP, while ATP is stepping in to help finance the deal.

ATP will own 48% of the equity in KAP, while OTPP will have 52%. KAP in turn owns 57.7% of Copenhagen Airports.

The agreement will lead to a mandatory tender offer for the remaining shares in Copenhagen Airports. The Danish state currently owns 39.2% of the shares in Copenhagen Airports and 3% of the share capital is free-floating.

Ulrik Dan Weuder, senior vice president, private markets and climate-related issues at ATP, told IPE Real Estate: “This is ATP’s largest investment ever, and it is core infrastructure, so it’s something we’re very interested in getting exposure to.

“It fits in well with our risk model, and being Danish, it means that the income stream coming from it will match our liability stream.”

ATP has a good understanding of airports as infrastructure assets, he said, having held listed exposure to three European airports – Zurich, Vienna and Copenhagen – between 2008 and 2012. It currently has exposure to two minor airports including Belfast’s George Best Airport.

“Generally it has been difficult to get real assets these days because of the level of investor demand for them, and we have been hunting for this particular one for some time,” Dan Weuder said.

“We have a strong knowledge of the culture and Danish environment, and also, we are a long-term owner which means we can optimise assets with a long view.”

Andrew Claerhout, senior managing director for infrastructure and natural resources at OTPP, said: “We look forward to continuing and growing on this track record of success in what will be our second partnership with ATP, with whom we are strongly aligned in our focus on long-term value creation.”

The deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, and and is subject to approval by the EU Commission under the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR).