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Canada’s Ivanhoé Cambridge cuts stake in French Gecina to 15.4%

© Gecina / Thierry Lewenberg-Sturm

Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate investment arm of Quebec-based pension fund manager CDPQ, has trimmed its holding in French office REIT/SIIC Gecina by 4.28% via a placement to investors, and now holds 15.4% of its equity.

A Gecina release said it has been notified of Ivanhoé Cambridge's sale of part of its interest through a placement with several investors using an accelerated book-building process. The institutions were not named but Gecina said the transaction is expected to increase the float, enabling more liquidity and wider access to the share for investors.

Gecina CEO Meka Brunel is the former executive vice-president Europe of Ivanhoé Cambridge, bringing the Canadian firm into a holding of 23% of the Paris office group four years ago. Over a series of transactions starting in 2012, she led Ivanhoé to buy out, together with Blackstone, several non-performing loans of Spanish companies linked to principles in somewhat controversial stakes held in Gecina. The two firms then directly acquired Gecina equity controlled by Metrovacesa and bought last decade. Metrovacesa, whhch in the interim de-listed and downsized amid Spain's hard recession, was returned to the stock market as a smaller residential firm earlier this month.

At the end of 2017, Gecina owned, managed and was developing property worth €19.6bn, with nearly 93% located in the Paris region. The group, which also last year took over smaller peer Eurosic, aims to build France’s leading office portfolio with a diversification division including residential assets and student residences. Montreal-based Ivanhoé Cambridge, which held some C$56bn globally at the end of 2016, is a real estate subsidiary of CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec), one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers.

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