Caisse Unit Plans to Sell Most of C$2.3 Billion Hotel Assets

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec plans to sell most of its hotels after the properties failed to produce adequate returns, and will redeploy proceeds in shopping malls, office towers and residential buildings.

Ivanhoe Cambridge, as the Caisse’s real-estate arm is known, owned about C$2.3 billion ($2.2 billion) worth of hotels as of Dec. 31, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Fournier said today. The portfolio generated a negative return of about 14 percent last year, he said.

“The hotel sector is a non-strategic sector,” Fournier told reporters after the Caisse’s annual results press conference in Montreal. “We are leaving the hotel sector over a four- to five-year period. We are going to do this in an orderly fashion.”

Ivanhoe Cambridge has already sold about 40 percent of its hotel assets since 2010, and “the other 60 percent will take time because the market is not there now,” Fournier said. Including debt, Ivanhoe Cambridge managed about C$35 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31.

After selling the Hilton in downtown Toronto last month, Ivanhoe Cambridge plans to announce two more deals in the next few weeks, he said, declining to be more specific.

Ivanhoe plans to keep some properties, such as Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel and Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac, because of their “iconic” value, Fournier said. The Chateau Frontenac is undergoing a C$66 million renovation that began last year and isn’t for sale, he said.

The company plans to spend C$2.2 billion to modernize its shopping centers this year and next year, Fournier also said. Development spending last year amounted to C$900 million.

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