CPPIB eyes real estate deals amid turbulence

Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:22pm EST
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By Pav Jordan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, fresh from striking its biggest real estate deal ever, is weighing three or four other acquisitions as it looks to scoop up undervalued assets in a tumultuous global property market.

CPPIB, with C$153 billion ($153.38 billion) in managed assets, is mostly interested in property in emerging market powerhouses such as Brazil and China, with their strong long-term growth outlooks, said Graeme Eadie, senior vice president for real estate investments at CPPIB, one of Canada's largest pension fund administrators. But it might also unearth value in more established centers such as London.

In an interview with Reuters after CPPIB announced two big property deals, Eadie offered no specific timetable for the next acquisition by the fund, which invests on behalf of 17 million Canadians.

"You go through cycles," Eadie told Reuters. "We've gone through years where it was very difficult to find anything, and then this year we've been able to do a fair number of large deals."

CPPIB struck three major real estate investments in the last month. It is part of a joint venture that agreed a $4.8 billion deal to buy a U.S. regional mall portfolio from Australia's Westfield Group WDC.AX. CPPIB paid $1.8 billion for its stake, its biggest bet ever on real estate.

Also this week CPPIB said it would join forces with one of Britain's top commercial property companies, Land Securities Group (LAND.L: Quote), to develop land in Victoria Circle in London's West End.

Eadie wouldn't give specifics about any deals in the pipeline except to say he was keeping busy.

"I would say, right now, deals of this magnitude, probably three or four," he said when asked how many were under review.   Continued...