CANADA - As Canadian pension funds continue to invest aggressively in overseas infrastructure, DTZ has announced it is entering the market through the CA$31m (€22.5m) acquisition of property services firm JJ Barnicke.

In a press statement, DTZ chief executive Mark Struckett cited the acquisition as a vehicle for meeting domestic demand for reach "at a time when Canadian investors are becoming more active globally".

Yet Chris Ridabock, who takes over as chief executive of the new firm, also identified market-specific pull-factors including economic growth and political stability as key reasons for the expansion.

Immigration-fuelled population growth in Toronto and Montreal - the market's two main urban property markets - are driving both economic expansion and demand for real estate, according to Ridabock.

"Toronto is always the target for investors, although Montreal has French flair and business and communications interplay with French-speaking markets," he said.

"Those two cities are ideal for retail and industrial. Toronto, in particular, is a huge distribution hub," continued Ridabock.

He also cited oil-based infrastructure in Alberta as an attractive reason for expandng its presence, after Jeff Rubin, chief economist with CIBC World Markets, in October estimated Canadian oil sands make up 50% of energy resources open to private investment.

"Investors [in the province] are coming from all over the globe, but especially from the US," said Ridabock.

"The pace of investment has picked up in the past five years and we're expecting only bigger and better things in the next five," he added.

"Investors consider Canada one of the safest places in financial and political terms. We haven't had drastic domestic difficulties and there have been no international incidents such as 9/11.

"Canada is a conservative nation, and investors see it as a safe harbour," concluded Ridabock.

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