CANADA - The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is bidding for a 49% stake in the Auckland International Airport (AIAL) group, as part of a strategy to target long-term holdings in infrastructure assets.

Although CPPIB has not yet disclosed how much it is prepared to pay, the pension fund said it would present a "compelling" proposal that would please shareholders and preserve New Zealand ownership of the group, which operates Auckland airport.

CPPIB has a track record of deals involving public sector stakeholders. In this case, its offer would allow Auckland and Manukau city councils to retain their 23% share in the firm.

This proposal would also involve the issue of new securities aimed at generating returns and preserving AIAL's investment grade rating.

Spokesman Joel Kranc said: "I can tell you that the CPP Investment Board has a very long term time horizon and as such sees this type of infrastructure investment along those lines. We look for long-term stable assets."

CPPIB did face competition from Dubai Aerospace but it has since dropped put of the bidding. However, Macquarie is still believed to be interested in acquiring the asset.