UPDATE 1-Canada's Caisse forms India unit to seek South Asian investments

Wed Mar 9, 2016 9:57am EST
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* Anita Marangoly George appointed South Asia head

* Caisse to invest $150 million in renewable energy (Adds details, CEO quote)

TORONTO, March 9 (Reuters) - Canada's second biggest pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec said on Wednesday it will open its first Indian office in New Delhi to scout for investments in South Asia.

The Caisse also announced the appointment of Anita Marangoly George as managing director for South Asia. Based in New Delhi, George will head up the new CDPQ India unit to seek investment opportunities across all asset classes.

Canadian pension funds are expanding into new territories and investing directly in assets such as infrastructure and real estate as they seek alternatives to volatile global equity markets and low-yielding government bonds.

India is viewed as a prime investment opportunity, given its rapid economic growth and burgeoning middle class. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Canada's biggest public pension fund, set up an office in Mumbai last year to scout for opportunities.

Caisse Chief Executive Officer Michael Sabia in a statement cited India's "scope and quality of investment opportunities, the potential for strategic partnerships with leading Indian entrepreneurs, and the current government's intention to pursue essential economic reforms."

The Caisse also announced a commitment to invest $150 million in renewable energy in India. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)