Highway 407 toll road north of Toronto

Highway 407 toll road might be going up for sale

AtkinsRéalis Group Inc. plans to sell its stake in Toronto’s 407 ETR toll highway by the end of 2027.

The Montreal-based company, formerly known as SNC-Lavalin, holds a 6.76 per cent stake in 407 International Inc., which is the company that owns Highway 407.

Ian Edwards, AtkinsRéalis’ chief executive, made the announcement at an investor presentation in Toronto on Thursday as part of the company’s 2025 – 2027 Strategic Plan.

“We’ve transformed this company. We’ve simplified it,” Edwards told investors. “But we’re not taking a view that the job is done. And as we further optimize to expand our margins, we will take any measures we need to get there”, which is why the company is moving toward divesting the 407.

The company is also looking to pursue margin expansion and growth, expanding its investments in rapidly growing markets, including initiatives in engineering services across the U.S., utilizing nuclear expertise, and investing in accretive mergers and acquisitions.

“Our chosen high-growth geographies and customer end markets, combined with our unique end-to-end capabilities, position us well to continue to create value for our stakeholders – and deliver on our purpose of creating a better future for our planet and its people,” Edwards stated. “We have confidence in advancing our world-class engineering services and nuclear capabilities, powered by our operational scale and rigor and our 38,000 dedicated employees. Our new 2025 – 2027 financial targets reflect our confidence in driving growth, improving margins and delivering excellence for our customers.”

The company selling its interest in Highway 407 is part of a strategic goal to focus on engineering services and nuclear businesses.

The Highway 407 ETR section, which stretches for 108 kilometres from Burlington to Pickering in the Greater Toronto Area, isn’t considered part of the provincial highway network as it is operated privately under a 99-year lease agreement with the Ontario government

The other owners of the toll highway are the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a.k.a., CPP Investments (who holds a 50.01% stake) and Cintra Global S.E., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S. A. (43.23%).

Even with fewer people working in the downtown core, the highway serves millions of drivers each year. Average daily workday trips have increased from 237,000 in 1999 to 268,744 in March 2024. Some analysts are urging the provincial government make better use of the highway, suggesting that subsidizing trucks to take the 407 could make the 401 less crowded.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO