Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s third-largest insurer, extended a C$140 million ($134 million) mortgage to the developer of an Abbotsford, British Columbia, mall that has Hennes & Mauritz AB and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shops.
The loan to Shape Properties Corp. for Highstreet Shopping Centre is the largest conventional mortgage deal ever for Sun Life, the insurer said in a statement today. The three-story mall is held by Shape and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan. It is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Vancouver and houses a Cineplex Inc. movie theater and a Starbucks Corp. cafe.
Insurers have been turning to real estate as an alternative to bonds with interest rates near record lows. The companies invest funds that are held to back obligations to policyholders.
The Abbotsford deal is “consistent with our focus on high quality, long-term investments,” Philip Gillin, senior managing director of Canadian property investments at Toronto-based Sun Life, said in the statement.
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the investing arm that provided the financing, had C$105 billion in assets as of June 30, including C$12 billion in commercial mortgages. The unit provides fixed-rate loans for retail, office, industrial and residential properties.