Britain's pensions lifeboat is investing £150m in the country's only pay-as-you-go motorway as it tries to keep generating sufficient returns to cover retirement payments to 250,000 people.
Sky News has learnt that the Pension Protection Fund (PPF (Shenzhen: 300258.SZ - news) ) is putting the funds into the company which operates the M6 toll road, just days after it was sold to IFM Investors, its second group of Australian owners.
The PPF is understood to be investing in the debt attached to the M6's operating company, alongside the infrastructure arm of Allianz Global Investors, the German asset manager.
Sources said the deal would be announced later this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
It is the latest infrastructure asset to attract the attention of the PPF, which seeks to deploy capital into long-term assets which have the potential to generate returns which match its liabilities.
The pensions lifeboat, which covers retirement payments to members of defined benefit schemes whose employers go bust, has won plaudits for its stewardship in recent years, even as prominent company collapses have increased the burden upon it.
The PPF was at the centre of the row over Sir Philip Green's responsibilities towards the BHS pension scheme following its collapse last year, playing a key role in the tycoon's eventual £363m settlement.
It has put money into a number of infrastructure projects but lost out in the recent privatisation of the Green Investment Bank, which the Government opted to sell to a consortium led by Australian bank Macquarie - itself a former owner of the M6.
The 27-mile West Midlands toll road has been perennially loss-making since it was opened in 2003, with traffic volumes lower than predicted.
Nevertheless, it continues to generate substantial revenues, and has more than 35 years of a 53-year concession remaining.