* Expects up to three major deals in private market in 2012
* Sees private market portfolio returns growing
* Eyes presence in Asia by 2014
By Pav Jordan
TORONTO, Feb 24 The Ontario Municipal
Employees Retirement System, one of Canada's largest pension
fund administrators, expects to do as many as three major
acquisitions this year for its private markets portfolio, its
chief executive said on Friday.
CEO Michael Nobrega told Reuters in an interview that
acquisitions by OMERS could be in any of the key private market
sectors of private equity, infrastructure, or real estate.
"My hope is that we will probably do two or three major
deals this year, and it will probably be in Europe somewhere and
in North America," Nobrega told Reuters after OMERS reported
2011 results showing net assets at a record C$55.1 billion
($55.1 billion), up 3 percent over a year ago.
OMERS has been a major buyer of private market assets for
over a decade, accelerating the pace of acquisitions after the
onset of the global economic crisis of 2008-09.
In 2011, OMERS bought V. Group, a Scottish shipping services
company for $520 million and joined with Berkshire Partners to
buy Husky International, a Canadian injection molding company,
for C$2.1 billion, among other deals.
The fund's private market portfolio generated a return of
8.2 percent in 2011, outperforming benchmarks across asset
classes. Returns from the public market portfolio were down
Nobrega expects returns to continue to grow from the private
market portfolio as assets mature.
"A lot of the assets under construction are coming to
fruition both in real estate and the infrastructure area," said
Nobrega, describing 2011 as a breakthrough year for investments
made years ago. "This is probably the first year that we don't
have a lot of construction on the way."
Nobrega said OMERS would be disciplined and play to its
strengths in the markets it knows best, including the United
States, Britain and Canada.
He said the fund might do deals in emerging markets too, but
only with partners. He pointed to Singapore, Chile and Brazil as
markets where OMERS has good relationships in emerging markets.
Nobrega said the fund was looking at having its own physical
presence in Asia by 2014.