“We’ve got two or three things on the go which, if they all come to fruition, could be between C$500 million and say C$700 million if they all fall into place,” De Bever said in an interview as investors arrived for the annual Canadian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association conference, held this year in Vancouver. “We think at least half of that will fall into place.”
AimCo manages about C$70 billion in public pensions and other government funds for the oil-rich western Canadian province of Alberta. The pension fund administrator has been an active acquirer in recent years, including the C$415 million, joint acquisition of Australian timber lands with New Forests Pty Ltd, announced in January. The deal, one of the largest in Australia’s forestry estate business, fit tidily into the fund manager’s investment strategy of seeking assets related to food, energy and raw materials.
AimCo also made major investments in recent years in Precision Drilling Corp., Viterra Inc. and a six-lane toll road in Chile. AimCo also is looking at health care services for investments and in Latin America was seeing opportunities in assets linked to supply-chain logistics in agriculture, De Bever said. “In Latin America, farm production is often efficient, but transportation from the farm to the market is not. So there are a number of opportunities we are looking at that deal with logistics and integration of that supply chain.”
AimCo has moved in recent years to more direct investing, but it still does some fund investing in geographies that are further from home and less familiar, he said. “In places like Southeast Asia, that’s probably where we will spend our fund money.”
De Bever said AimCo does not plan to bid on Canadian real estate properties valued at about C$900 million and reportedly being put up for sale by private equity and real estate firm The
De Bever, a veteran of private equity investing, said he was worried about the growing enthusiasm for dealmaking as liquidity levels rise to pre-crisis levels. He warned firms could be hurt if they rush to deploy funds. “There are a couple of things going on that sort of bother us. One is that in some sense, 2007/08 doesn’t seem to have happened,” he said, pointing to deal structures and debt financing not seen since before the global economic crisis. “We wonder if that is going to lead to a whole bunch of silly deals.”
(Pav Jordan is a correspondent for Reuters news service in Vancouver.)