* Ontario Teachers’ returns rebound 13 pct to C$96.4 bln
* CEO Jim Leech says will take time economy to recover
TORONTO, April 6 (Reuters) - The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of Canada’s largest investors, said on Tuesday its investments rebounded in 2009, with an annual rate of return of 13 percent, as confidence returned to financial markets.
Teachers’, which administers the pensions of 289,000 active and retired educators in Ontario, reported C$10.9 billion in investment earnings. The fund’s net assets were C$96.4 billion as of Dec. 31.
“We spent 2009 taking care of the business of the plan during the tail end of the financial market crash, while taking advantage of the market turmoil to make some investments that are already starting to pay off, and fortifying the plan for the future,” said Chief Executive Jim Leech.
In 2008, Teachers’, Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, suffered an 18 percent investment loss, as equity and other holdings were slammed by the global financial crisis.
At yearend 2009, the fund’s inflation-sensitive asset class holdings rose to C$45.9 billion from C$44.9 billion at the end of 2008. The equities portfolio holdings climbed to C$41.2 billion from C$34.9 billion a year earlier. Fixed income assets, net of related liabilities, rose to C$6.4 billion at 2009 yearend from C$5.3 billion in 2008.
Leech said the rebound last year came as confidence returned to the market but added that it did not reflect true economic growth.
“We should not expect this kind of market growth going forward,” he warned. “In 2008 and continuing into the first quarter of 2009 we saw a crisis of confidence among investors. It caused market mayhem. After the markets bottomed out in March 2009, confidence edged back up and with that came a return to more reasonable valuations. We expect it will still be some time until true economic growth takes hold.”
A private equity group led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said on Monday it has acquired Exal Group, the world’s largest specialty maker of aluminum containers, for an undisclosed amount.
$1=$1.003 Canadian Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Peter Galloway