UPDATE 1-Brookfield says "real" assets to benefit from low rates

Thu May 9, 2013 4:36pm EDT
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* Toronto-based company focused on infrastructure, property

* Sees low rates pushing capital into real assets

* FFO rises, has $185 bln in assets

By Cameron French

TORONTO, May 9 (Reuters) - While the current low interest-rate environment has been toxic for many investors, Brookfield Asset Management is banking on its continuation to draw capital to its power, infrastructure and property assets, Chief Executive Bruce Flatt said on Thursday.

"We expect the current slow growth, low rate, interest rate environment to persist," which should stoke demand for income-producing assets, he said on a conference call with analysts, investors and media.

"As a result, real assets should continue to emerge as an even more compelling investment alternative."

The Toronto-based investment company, which reported a 34 percent rise in funds from operations in the first quarter, has about $185 billion in assets, largely weighted to the United States.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. bonds currently yield just over 1.8 percent, which is up from a low of around 1.4 percent last July, but are well below the 3 to 5 percent levels of the last decade.   Continued...