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CBRE Fund Buys … Wait, What, A Swedish Bus Company?


A fund managed by a division of CBRE has bought a Swedish regional and school bus operator in a deal that may seem odd to traditional real estate folk, but which highlights how the broker is diversifying in line with the needs of the world’s biggest institutional investors.

CBRE Caledon Capital Management bought Karlssonbuss from the Karlsson family on behalf of a fund it manages and a separate account. 

Karlssonbuss has been operating since 1949 in southern Sweden and has a fleet of 171 buses.

CBRE moved into infrastructure investment management in 2017 when it bought a majority stake in Toronto-based Caledon Capital Management, which became a division of CBRE Global Investors. The division has more than $7B in assets under management, and CBRE GI has $87B. 

“Investors are increasing their allocations to alternative investments, including real assets,” then-CBRE GI CEO Ritson Ferguson said. “Caledon’s market-leading investment solutions are a logical extension to our existing suite of real estate and infrastructure investment solutions, enhancing our position as an industry leader.”

Big investment managers like JP Morgan, BlackRock and Morgan Stanley have rolled their real estate investment into wider real assets divisions, but CBRE was the first property specialist to branch out into infrastructure. 

Since the acquisition of Caledon, funds managed by the division have bought assets that have their roots in real estate, like data centres, as well as assets that are very different, like Norwegian ferries and Swedish school buses. 

“We have acquired a non-cyclical transport business with low volume risk due to protection from availability contracts,” CBRE Caledon partner and Head of Infrastructure Europe Andreas Köttering said in a statement. “With the ambition to transition to hybrid and hydrogen power, we will be managing a sustainable transport operation aligning with our net carbon zero target as a business.”