ADQ, an Abu Dhabi state-owned investment company, has purchased a 49% stake in global public infrastructure group Plenary for an undisclosed price, believed to be around A$1bn (€609m).

Canadian institutional investor CDPQ is selling its 20% stake. The remaining 29% interest in the Melbourne, Australia-based firm is held by Plenary founders and executives.

As part of the partnership, Plenary and ADQ will establish a co-development and investment platform to focus on public and social infrastructure investments in high-growth geographies, including the Middle East and Central Asia. 

ADQ will invest primary capital in Plenary to accelerate its growth in Australia, the Middle East, Asia, Europe.

Plenary ADQ credit Cameron Ramsay

Source: Cameron Ramsay

Paul Oppenheim (left) and David Lamming (centre) of Plenary Group with ADQ’s Ahmed Al Shamsi

Plenary chair John O’Rourke said: “We have a strong strategic alignment with ADQ. The partnership will accelerate our growth in Australia and internationally, and the Middle East co-development and investment platform will unlock significant opportunity and value for both companies.”

Plenary has been growing its business in the Middle East after establishing a presence in 2022, when it won the UAE’s first schools infrastructure private-public partnership, the Zayed City Schools project.

ADQ deputy group CEO Hamad Al Hammadi said: “This collaboration, marking our inaugural venture in Australia, underscores ADQ’s commitment to developing partnerships that complement our investment strategy, which aims to create long-term value and generate sustainable financial returns.”

He added: “ADQ’s existing portfolio of infrastructure assets, many of which are emerging as national champions, will serve as a catalyst to leverage significant potential of public-private partnership projects together with Plenary, a leader in its field with a proven track record of delivering successful infrastructure projects globally.”

CDPQ executive vice-president and head of infrastructure Emmanuel Jaclot said: “Since we began our partnership with Plenary Group in 2012, the company has experienced significant growth. We are pleased to retain our investment in many of Plenary’s Australian assets and look forward to exploring new opportunities alongside the company.”

CDPQ will retain its 90% stake in the separate Plenary Americas business which is not subject to this transaction. The Canadian institution has invested more than A$500m in a variety of Plenary projects since 2012.

Plenary will remain majority-owned and controlled by its Australian founders and senior management team and retains operational independence.

Founded in Australia in 2004 by John O’Rourke, Ray Wilson, Paul Oppenheim and Jim Cox, Plenary manages a global portfolio worth A$32bn.