CANADA/UK - Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund is working with 3i's infrastructure fund on a potential bid to buy Gatwick Airport in a deal which could be worth more than £1.5bn (€1.8bn), but other pension funds are thought to be considering deals too.

The British Airport Association (BAA), which is owned by Spanish company Ferrovial, is selling the airport following a damning report by the Competition Commission earlier this year stating BAA would have to stop running two of its three London airports, claiming lack of competition had led to poor service for BAA's airline and passenger customers.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, advisers to BAA, is sending sales documents out to potential bidders next week, and the first round of bids is then expected soon after Christmas.

Ontario Teachers and 3i are understood to have appointed NM Rothschild and Australian banking group Macquarie as their advisers.

Perhaps more importantly, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Boards is rumoured to be in talks about joining Ontario Teachers' and the 3i consortium to make a bid.

Similarly, the Manchester Airports Authority is rumoured to be in talks about making a bid with Borealis, who invest in infrastructure for the Canadian pension fund OMERS.  

Gatwick Airport is the busiest single runway airport in the world, hosting 80 million airlines and 35 million passengers a year.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund had $8.8bn invested in infrastructure and timber and a total of $16.4bn in real estate at the end of last year and provided benefits to 278,000 working teachers and pensioners from a fund worth CS$108.5bn (€69bn)