England

M6 Toll is sold to investment group IFM

M6 toll
Image caption The 27-mile route between Cannock and Coleshill opened in 2003

The M6 Toll has been sold, the BBC has learnt.

The 27-mile route between Cannock and Coleshill in the West Midlands opened in 2003 but has always lost money.

It was put up for sale for nearly £2bn last year after a consortium of 27 banks effectively took ownership from Midlands Expressway Ltd.

The road is now owned by IFM - owners of Manchester Airports Group, Anglian Water and Arqiva - which runs the transmitters used for BBC broadcasts.

Latest figures show the average daily traffic across weekdays and weekends in January and March, for all vehicle types, is 44,942 - up from 42,045 over the same period last year.

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The road, which opened at a cost of £900m, bypasses the most congested parts of the M6 - starting at junction 3a and rejoining at junction 11a.

The National Alliance Against Tolls has said the government should buy the loss-making motorway and remove the charge to reduce congestion.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 44,000 drivers use the M6 Toll every day

The weekday price for cars is currently £5.50 and £11 for HGVs.

Peter Plisner, BBC Midlands Today transport correspondent, said the road was likely to move into profit under its new owners instead of losing an estimated £25m on average each year.

A debt-restructuring process led to the consortium taking ownership from Midlands Expressway Ltd. The consortium then put its equity stake up for sale, which has now effectively been bought by IFM, which is owned by several Australian pension funds.


Analysis: BBC Midlands Today Transport Correspondent Peter Plisner:

Ownership of the M6 Toll has passed from one Australian company to another. Now, it's a group of pension funds that sees the road as a good investment.

Despite the losses of previous year IFM, the road's new owner, sees it not only as a viable asset, but a profitable one too.

Losses of the past happened mainly because of a huge mortgage needed to pay for the construction of the road.

Following restructuring in recent years and the latest sale of the road, that mortgage has effectively been wiped away, clearing the way for the M6 Toll to finally make a profit.

Growth in traffic and more roadworks on the Midlands motorways can only add to the profit potential.

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