Canada Pension Funds In Talks To Buy Satellite Company

Canada blank mapCanada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan are putting together a $7 billion deal to acquire Canadian satellite company Telesat Holdings Inc.

When all is said and done, each pension fund will have a 50 percent stake in the company.

More from Businessweek:

Under the terms being discussed, the funds will acquire Loral Space & Communications Inc. (LORL:US), a publicly traded shell company that owns 63 percent of Telesat, for about $85 a share (LORL:US), or $2.6 billion, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information. While a deal could be announced next month, talks may fall apart again given the parties’ inability to reach an agreement in the past, the people said.

The pension funds are planning to wind up with equal ownership and voting stakes in Telesat, the people said. PSP, which currently holds about 67 percent of the voting rights and 37 percent of the equity in Telesat, would increase its ownership to 50 percent and reduce its voting rights, while Ontario Teachers’ would control the other half of the company.

Telesat has been on and off the block for years. Loral and PSP, which already owns 37 percent of Telesat, called off a sale effort in 2011, after offers from bidders including EchoStar Corp. and Carlyle Group LP fell short of expectations. Talks started again this year before stalling in June because Mark Rachesky, Loral’s largest shareholder, couldn’t agree with PSP on a price to sell the company, failing to bridge an equity gap of about $100 million, people said then.

Three-way talks between Loral, PSP and Ontario Teachers’ restarted last month after Ontario Teachers’ and PSP raised their offer, the people said, leading to renewed negotiations.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board manages about $97 billion in assets. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan manages $138 billion in assets.

Canada Pension Eyes $1 Billion of Australian Timber


Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) is in talks to buy $1 billion worth of Australian timber assets from Hancock Timber Resource Group.

More details from the Australian:

CANADA’S Public Sector Pension Investment Board could be about to swoop on one of Australia’s most valuable timber plantations, with sources saying about $1 billion worth of forests owned by Hancock Timber Resource Group are on its radar.

PSP executives have been in Sydney this week sounding out counterparties ahead of what some say is shaping up to be an aggressive acquisition spree by the Canadians focusing on Australian property, agriculture and billions of dollars’ worth of upcoming infrastructure assets for sale by federal and state governments.

It is understood a major Australian acquisition is on the cards by PSP and the seller it is engaged with is Hancocks.

Recent forestry portfolios placed up for sale have struggled to secure strong prices, but the industry is now shaking off pain from weaker industry demand and collapsed managed investment schemes, which could see some plantations sell for some more bullish prices, with an increasing appetite for timber from woodchip markets.


Across the Tasman, PSP is finalising the purchase of forest plantations from Harvard Management in conjunction with New Zealand Superannuation and local Iwi tribes worth $NZ2.35bn ($2.15bn), and recently outlaid more than $NZ1bn for the acquisition of AMP’s office portfolio.

PSP manages $97 billion in assets.


Photo by Rick Payette via Flickr CC License

Report: Canada Pension Board Maintains Two Dozen Shell Companies To Avoid Taxes

Canada blank mapCanada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP), the entity that manages pension assets for the Public Service Pension Plan, the Canadian Forces Pension system and others, maintains a complex arrangement of offshore companies for the purpose of avoiding taxes on investments in Europe.

CBC reported the story Wednesday:

The federal agency that invests civil servants’ pensions set up a complex scheme of European shell companies and exploited loopholes that helped it avoid paying foreign taxes — a move that could undermine Canada’s standing internationally as its allies try to mount a crackdown on corporate tax avoidance.

The arrangement involved two dozen entities, half of them based in the financial secrecy haven of Luxembourg, and all of them set up in order to invest money in real estate in Berlin by a Crown corporation called the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

The blueprint for the tax-avoidance plan was obtained by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with CBC News as part of a larger leak of records exposing hundreds of corporate offshore schemes set up to capitalize on advantageous tax and secrecy rules in Luxembourg.


While the Canadian government corporation’s transactions were not illegal, a senior German tax official who reviewed them said the pension investment board had used “a very aggressive way to avoid taxes.”

“The only goal is to avoid taxes,” Juergen Kentenich, director of the regional tax office in Trier, Germany, said of the tangle of Luxembourg companies.

The scheme is legal, but was used to avoid paying taxes on German real estate owned by PSP. CBC reports that the fund successfully managed to avoid paying $20 million in German taxes:

The documents — which consist of a tax plan devised for the pension board by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers — show that the pension fund acquired 69 mixed residential and commercial buildings, totalling nearly 4,500 suites and units, in Berlin in 2008.

CBC News has learned the buildings were acquired for close to $390 million. But as a result of the way the transaction was structured, the pension investment board would have avoided paying $20 million in German taxes.

The purchase exploited a loophole in Germany’s land transfer tax, which is normally levied on any entity that acquires 95 per cent or more of the shares of a real-estate holding company.

Instead, the pension board bought a direct 94.4 per cent interest in a number of Luxembourg-based property holding companies, and then obtained an indirect interest by taking a large majority position in entities that held the remaining 5.6 per cent.

The board thus obtained a 96.4 per cent overall stake in the Berlin buildings, but the German loophole meant the indirect holdings weren’t counted toward the real-estate transfer tax — so it didn’t pay any.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board manages $93.7 billion in assets.

Canada Pension Funds Invest $700 Million in XPO Logistics

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Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have joined together with one other firm (GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund) to invest a combined $700 million in XPO Logistics, a transportation logistics firm.

More details from Market Watch:

The transaction, which is complete and scheduled to settle on September 17, 2014, provides for the sale of newly issued common stock and preferred stock to the Investors. Upon approval by the company’s shareholders, the preferred stock will be converted into common stock and the Investors will hold approximately 22% of XPO’s common stock on a fully diluted basis. The $30.66 price per share of common stock issuable to the Investors represents a 5% discount to the trailing 20-day volume weighted average price. Bradley Jacobs and Jacobs Private Equity, LLC intend to vote in favor of the stock issuance. Jacobs Private Equity, LLC will remain the company’s largest shareholder.

Bradley Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of XPO Logistics, said, “We’re delighted to welcome PSP Investments, GIC and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan as significant shareholders in XPO. This strategic investment by three blue chip institutions is a strong endorsement of our plan for value creation. With the benefit of $700 million of additional equity to accelerate our growth, we can capitalize on an acquisition pipeline that’s livelier than expected. We’re now targeting approximately $9 billion of revenue and $575 million of EBITDA for 2017.”

The vice-presidents of PSP and the OTPP both released statement regarding the investment. From Market Watch:

Daniel Garant, senior vice-president, public markets for PSP Investments, said, “We are pleased to become a meaningful shareholder of XPO and support its board and management as it pursues its growth strategy. This investment in XPO is consistent with our Value Opportunities Portfolio’s mandate, which includes making strategic investments in publicly-listed companies that we believe have the capability of generating above average risk-adjusted returns over time and where PSP Investments can leverage its permanent and growing capital base over a long-term investment horizon.”


Michael Wissell, senior vice-president, public equities for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said, “Teachers’ believes in partnering with world-class entrepreneurs. We are pleased to invest alongside Brad Jacobs and his team. Their plans for XPO align with our approach to long-term value creation.”

The OTPP is the largest single-profession retirement fund in Canada and manages over $140 billion in assets.

PSP Investments manages $93 billion of assets.