CPPIB, meanwhile, is involved in a bid for infrastructure
assets in Australia. Toronto-based infrastructure group
Brookfield Asset Management and Sydney-based logistics
company Qube Holdings had been locked in a prolonged
bidding war for Australian railway and seaport operator
Asciano as the leaders of separate investor groups
— but now the two parties are reportedly set to
call a truce.
The former rivals and their respective deal partners
— which include several government funds
— are reportedly ready to make a joint cash offer
that values the company at A$9.1 billion ($6.6 billion).
Under the terms of the proposal, Asciano's rail and seaport
operations would be divided among the members of the two
consortiums, which include CPPIB, the China Investment Corp.
and the Qatar Investment Authority
By divvying up the assets in this way, the partners hope to
skirt any potential regulatory hurdles. With lawmakers
reportedly concerned about China or Qatar gaining control
of Australian seaports — which are considered
strategic assets by the government — the deal
partners propose to allocate Asciano’s rail
assets to the foreign investors, with Qube acquiring the
ports so that their ownership remains in Australia.
Commodity-Based SWFs Face Government Pressure
As oil prices continue to languish around $30 a barrel,
some sovereign funds are facing increasing pressure on
their assets (even if reports of a mass sell-off of
government-owned assets are exaggerated).
Delivering his annual speech in Oslo, Oeystein Olsen,
governor of Norway's central bank, says the government may
have to withdraw as much as 80 billion kroner ($10 billion)
from the Government Pension Fund Global in 2016
because of the impact of low energy prices on the Norwegian
economy. However, Olsen insisted that the fund's investment
strategy is not likely to change and that it will not be
compelled to sell assets.
In Alaska, lawmakers are ready to consider plans to change
the structure of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. (APFC),
the organization that manages the U.S. state's sovereign
wealth fund. Alaskan senators have submitted three separate
proposals to modify APFC so that it funnels the fund's
income directly to the state’s Treasury,
either through a percentage of its investment earnings or a
fixed annual transfer. Alaska’s legislature
will consider the proposals over the coming months.