The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will pay the equivalent of $350 million Canadian for a stake in a company that owns Australian shopping centres.

Canada's national pension plan will join with the Future Fund, Australia's $63 billion government-owned investment fund, and with other unnamed investors to buy the retail property division of Sydney-based Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

The deal will provide an influx of cash for the division being bought and will give other investors the opportunity to recoup their investments, according to Darren Steinberg, who manages the property owner.

"An exit strategy for those wishing to reallocate their capital was achieved by securing equity from new investors," he said.

First established in 1996, the property owner holds $1.1 billion worth of regional shopping centres across Australia. It manages 230,000 square metres of retail space with $1.9 billion in annual sales.

Australian takeover fever

The deal is the CPPIB's latest acquisition of Australian assets. Earlier this year, it offered $3.2 billion for Australia's Intoll Group, which owns a stake in the 407 toll highway in Ontario. That offer is still pending.

In November 2009, CPPIB made a joint offer for toll-road operator Transurban Group. After a revised bid in May was rebuffed by Transurban, co-bidder Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan backed out, and the deal fell apart. But CPPIB still retains its original stake of almost 13 per cent in Transurban.

In May, CPPIB announced a $233-million investment in the Goodman Australia Property Development Fund, and in the summer of 2009 the pension plan acquired a major infrastructure firm, Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, for $2.1 billion.

Indeed, the pension plan isn't the only Canadian entity shopping in Australia.

Earlier this month, Agrium Inc. made a $1.14-billion bid to acquire Australian grain marketer AWB Ltd. And in late 2009, Canada's biggest grain handler, Viterra Inc., bought ABB Grain for $1.4 billion.

This week, Toronto-based Brookfield Infrastructure Partners attempted to get majority control of Sydney-based Prime Infrastructure, in which it is already a minority shareholder.