The British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is entering a consortium that’s buying a majority stake in a U.K. natural gas provider.

The consortium, which also includes Macquarie Asset Management, will buy a 60 per cent stake in the National Grid’s 7,660-kilometre gas transmission system and metering business for £5.7 billion ($9.37 billion). As part of the deal, the consortium has an option to acquire the remaining 40 per cent stake in the business.

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As the majority owner of the National Grid, the consortium will support several projects, including FutureGrid, which will pilot the use of decommissioned natural gas transmission assets to deliver clean hydrogen.

The BCI’s move is part of a portfolio diversification strategy targeting regulated utilities. “We believe National Grid’s innovative decarbonization strategy will ensure the business plays a leadership role in supporting the U.K. to achieve net-zero carbon emissions on target by 2050, while meeting consumer demand for reliable networks,” said Lincoln Webb, executive vice-president and global head of infrastructure and renewable resources at the BCI, in a press release.

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In other news, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Pacific Asset Management Co. are forming a joint venture to develop a data centre in South Korea.

The CPPIB and a fund managed by Pacific will commit $146.8 million in equity for the project development, with the CPPIB allocating an additional $135 million. Located in the eastern part of the Seoul metropolitan area, Jukjeon Data Centre will be close to a technology hub known as South Korea’s Silicon Valley. It’s expected to be completed in June 2024.

“Demand for data centres in Asia-Pacific continues to grow and is boosted further by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gilles Chow, managing director and head of real estate for North Asia at the CPPIB, in a press release. “Companies in South Korea are in need of digital infrastructure as the country is emerging as a technology and innovation hub in the region.”

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