Canada’s Infrastructure Stimulus Driving Private Finance Deals

  • Federal spending ‘not crowding us out’: Manulife’s Anderson
  • Private infrastruture finance seen at more than C$1B a year

The Canadian government’s infrastructure spending is creating more business for the private sector, not less, by pushing forward projects that might not have been built, according to Manulife Financial Corp.

“The stimulus spending from the federal government is not crowding us out,” Bruce Anderson, Manulife’s managing director of project finance and infrastructure, said Tuesday at Bloomberg’s Canadian Fixed-Income Conference in New York. “If anything, it is providing us with more opportunities.”

Anderson estimates the market for infrastructure finance is worth more than C$1 billion ($760 million) a year in Canada. The market, which is only about 10 years old, is maturing and aided by the federal government’s promise to double its infrastructure spending to C$125 billion over the next decade, he said.

For the most part, the federal spending is going to either infrastructure for municipalities, which don’t have the ability to raise significant amounts of revenue through taxation, and projects that are extremely capital-intensive such as public transit, Anderson said. In either case, the work might not have gone forward without the stimulus, he said.