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Diving in

Canadian pension funds invest in clean energy, water

In a two-day span this month, Canadian public pension plans dove into clean-energy and water investments.

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Montreal, on March 8 announced it and French water resources firm Suez Environnement SA agreed to acquire GE Water, General Electric Co.'s water and process technologies business, for $3.4 billion. Caisse, which manages C$270.7 billion ($202.2 billion) in provincial pension and other assets, will hold a 30% stake in GE Water with Suez holding the majority 70% stake.

On March 9, the C$171.4 billion Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto, announced an agreement with clean-energy distributor Anbaric to create a firm, Anbaric Development Partners, for clean-energy infrastructure projects in North America. OTPP will hold a 40% stake in the firm.

Caisse's deal for GE Water is part of its private equity portfolio, spokesman Jean-Benoit Houle said. That portfolio totaled C$30.4 billion as of Dec. 31. OTPP's investment is part of its infrastructure portfolio, which had C$15.7 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2015, the latest data available.

“Clean energy is an area that Ontario Teachers' sees as having a great deal of investment potential for us due to the amount of innovation that is taking place in the sector,” said Andrew Claerhout, OTPP senior managing director, infrastructure and natural resources.

Michael Sabia, president and CEO of Caisse, said the GE Water deal was “highly aligned with CDPQ's long-term vision and its strategy of increasing its emphasis on stable assets anchored in the real economy."

This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2017 print issue as, "Canadian pension funds invest in clean energy, water".