GLOBAL – Australia's first-pillar Future Fund has agreed to acquire AIX infrastructure fund's entire portfolio for AUD2bn (€1.6bn).

The listed transport infrastructure vehicle's assets include interests in three European airports, as well as stakes of as much as 50% in 10 domestic airports and the Australian national road network.

Specifically, the deal will give Australia's compulsory pension scheme a 14.2% share in Hamburg airport, 10% of Dusseldorf airport and 13.3% of Athens airport via Hochtief Airport Capital (HTAC), which also owns 6.5% of Sydney airport.

The AUD80bn scheme's offer represents a 10% premium to AIX's June valuation of its assets.

The scheme's willingness to offer what AIX manager Hastings acknowledged was a significant premium over the assets' June published value reflects its concern that, despite a strong pipeline, it faces strong competition for new infrastructure acquisitions.

Infrastructure and timberland combined make up 5.9% of the scheme's overall portfolio, with a value of AUD4.7bn, focused largely on regulated and contracted assets invested via seven asset managers.

Its preference is for domestic assets (40%), not least because of their correlation with domestic macro growth.

But in a statement this week, CIO David Neal said the scheme would consider both direct investments and international assets as part of a continuing programme of "disciplined" investments.

In a note sent by to the market this week, Hastings accepted the Future Fund's proposal "in the absence of a superior offer".

Were a competing bid to emerge, the pension scheme would have five days to amend its offer or withdraw. 

The sale is expected to complete in the New Year, subject to AIX shareholder approval.