GLOBAL - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has sold as many as 170 million shares - 12% of its stake - in Australian toll road operator Transurban.

In an email sent to IPE, CPPIB confirmed the sale and said: "CPPIB monitors its investment holdings on a regular basis to determine the best allocation of our assets. 

"The sale of our shares in Transurban is part of our ongoing portfolio management."

The sale - estimated to earn the scheme AUD$903m (€681m) based on the firm's current share value - follows that of several other local real estate and infrastructure assets by investors, as they look to take advantage of the strong Australian dollar.

Back in 2009, three investors - CPPIB, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) and Australia's CP2 - sought to acquire 100% of Transurban, but the toll road operator rejected the deal.

Following the failure of the plan, OTPP sold its 12% Transurban stake in May last year.

At the end of 2010, CPPIB bought another Australian toll road operator, Intoll Group, from Macquarie Infrastructure Group, for AUD$3.4bn.

In 2009, the Canadian pension fund also acquired Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group.

The deal was originally part of CPPIB's plan to invest in infrastructure assets that offer reliable long-term cash flows.