Caisse taking stake in fighter pilot training company, CPPIB in Latin American fitness chain

Alongside other investors, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is investing in Top Aces Inc., an airborne training services provider.

The Quebec-based company, which was founded in 2000 by a group of former fighter pilots, provides training to air forces around the world, aiming to enhance the operational readiness of combat forces.

“Top Aces is a Quebec company recognized for the quality of its services and its unparalleled safety record within the air training sector,” said Charles Émond, executive vice-president for Quebec, private equity and strategic planning at the Caisse, in a news release. “With this investment, Top Aces will pursue international growth and consolidate its leadership position within its industry.”

Read: Caisse regrouping private equity activity under Charles Émond

Top Aces intends to use the fresh capital to support its international expansion, including the purchase of new aircraft. “This investment provides major support for the growth of our airborne training services, particularly in rapidly expanding international markets,” said Paul Bouchard, president and chief executive officer of Top Aces. “By joining our existing investment partners, CDPQ further solidifies a strong and long-term shareholding base that will enable Top Aces to take on new challenges in new countries.”

The Caisse is also taking on a 24.9 per cent stake in the extended Sydney Metro trains public-private contract.

With a total transaction value of $150 million, MTR Corp. Ltd., Marubeni Corp., Plenary Group and CIMIC Group Ltd. joined the Caisse in the investment.

The extension to the metro system involves the addition of new stations, aiming to reach 31 by 2024, up from the original 13 the Metro North West line boasted when it opened in May 2019.

Read: Caisse investing in U.S.-based electric scooter company

“This transit system will expand sustainable mobility in the region and contribute to the transition toward a low-carbon economy by compounding the benefits of mass transit, electrification and energy from renewable sources,” said Emmanuel Jaclot, executive vice-president and head of infrastructure, at the Caisse, in a press release. “This investment is perfectly aligned with our strategy to invest in high-quality infrastructure assets, alongside partners with a deep understanding of the market and vast operational expertise.”

In other investment news, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is taking a 12.4 per cent stake in Latin American fitness chain Smartfit Escola de Ginástica e Dança, for about $340 million.

Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, the company has 739 locations in 10 countries. The investment brings the CPPIB’s investments in Latin America to more than $16.4 billion.

“Smart Fit offers CPPIB the opportunity to increase its exposure to Latin America through a market-leading company within the fast-growing personal fitness space,” said Tania Chocolat, managing director and head of direct equity investments for Latin America at the CPPIB, in a press release. “Backed by a strong management team and with a solid track record of success, Smart Fit is ideally positioned to take advantage of the increased focus on health and fitness in the region.”

Read: Caisse boosts stake in Indian solar producer, CPPIB in Brazilian real estate joint venture