M6 toll road sale to pension fund IFM Investors set to drive £180m taxpayer payout

Rebecca Smith
The M6 toll road was put up for sale for nearly £2bn last year
The M6 toll road was put up for sale for nearly £2bn last year (Source: Getty)

Taxpayers are set to pick up £180m off the back of the sale of the M6 toll road.

Australian pension fund IFM Investors, which was reported as the front runner of Britain’s only pay-as-you-go motorway last month, gained control of the road after buying its debt from a group of lenders.

Now, Highways England, which is state-owned, will make around £180m thanks to a clause from when the toll was opened in 2003, according to the Sunday Times.

Read more: This Australian pension giant wants to buy the M6 toll road

The new owners of the M6 are expected to pay off a "land fund" obligation, covering the cost of leasing the land from the government.

The 27-mile toll road, which was designed to improve traffic in the West Midlands in 2003, cost £900m to build and had been owned by a group of 27 lenders including Credit Agricole, Commerzbank and Novo Banco.

The lenders snapped up the M6 from Macquarie back in December 2013 after a debt restructuring. They then put it up for sale last year with a price tag of around £1.9bn.

Cars are charged £5.50 for use of the motorway, while trucks pay up to £11. It was originally predicted that around 72,000 vehicles would use the M6 route a day, but the daily average is nearer 48,000 vehicles.

It marks the latest UK venture for IMF, which took a 35.5 per cent strategic stake in Manchester Airports Group (MAC), at the beginning of 2012. That followed MAG’s announcement that its bid to acquire London Stansted for £1.5bn was successful. MAG now owns four British airports.

Read more: Here's how Manchester Airport plans to close the gap on Heathrow

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