In a prelude to a full takeover bid for listed global toll road operator Atlas Arteria, IFM Investors has disclosed it had become a substantial shareholder in the Australian company.

The manager filed substantial shareholder notice, revealing that, the IFM Global Infrastructure Fund (IFM GIF) now holds a 14.96% stake in ASX-listed Atlas Arteria.

At today’s market capitalisation of A$7.91bn, IFM Investors’ collective stake is worth A$1.18bn.

IFM Investors set up a vehicle, known as Diamond Infraco, in March, which bought the bulk of the shares.

IFM Investors said it intended to initially request access to certain limited company information before deciding whether to submit a non-binding indicative proposal to acquire all the Atlas Arteria securities, which it did not already own.

It added that IFM GIF had made no formal control proposal to the Atlas Arteria board.

Atlas Arteria owns a 31.14% interest in France’s second-largest toll road network, Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone and a 31.17% stake in the ADELAC toll road in eastern France.

It also owns Warnow Tunnel toll road in Rostock, Germany as well as the Dulles Greenway in Virginia, US.

IFM Global head of infrastructure, Kyle Mangini, said: “We have substantial experience investing in toll roads globally, and we’re attracted to Atlas Arteria’s high-quality assets across France, Germany and the US.

“We see this as a great investment and one where returns that are generated can help boost the retirement savings of millions of superannuation and pension fund members, such as nurses, teachers, construction workers and hospitality staff.”

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