GLOBAL - The National Pension Service (NPS) of South Korea has agreed to buy a 12% stake in London's Gatwick airport.

The world's fifth-largest pension fund has made a number of high-profile trophy real estate acquisitions in recent months and has now made a direct acquisition on behalf of its infrastructure portfolio.

NPS is to buy the interest in Gatwick from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an infrastructure fund backed by Credit Suisse and General Electric.

GIP is planning to sell a number of minority stakes in Gatwick after it bought the airport from BAA last October and NPS is on looking to increase its exposure to global alternatives.

In recent months, NPS has acquired prime offices in Sydney, Tokyo and London, including HSBC's headquarters in Canary Wharf, which it bought for £772.5m (€882m). (See earlier IPE Real Estate stories: NPS buys rooms with a view of Sydney Harbour, Korea's pension reserve buys HSBC tower and NPS partners Carlyle Group in Tokyo office purchase)