Fiera-led consortium buys Port of Montreal terminal operator from Morgan Stanley

MONTREAL – A consortium of Quebec institutional investors has acquired the Port of Montreal’s largest terminal operator from Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Fiera Axium Infrastructure Canada said Friday it has partnered with Desjardins Group, Manulife (TSX:MFC), the Quebec Federation of Labour’s Solidarity Fund and Industrial Alliance (TSX:IAG) to buy Montreal Gateway Terminals, which operates two of the port’s three international terminals that service seven global shipping lines.

A subsidiary of U.S.-based Morgan Stanley acquired an 80 per cent stake in the terminals in 2007 and gained full control in 2013.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but Bloomberg reported last month that the deal was worth about $650 million.

Last year, the terminals handled 800,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, representing 58 per cent of all containers passing through the Montreal port, which is the largest container port in Eastern Canada and third-largest in the northeast coast of North America.

Fiera Axium, an independent portfolio management firm with more than $1.2 billion in assets under management, said the terminals are “an essential infrastructure asset” that fit well with its core infrastructure strategy.

The Quebec labour fund said Canada’s second-largest port after Vancouver is an important asset for the province and a key trading link to Europe and the Eastern United States.