CANADA/BRAZIL - Ivanhoe Investments, the real estate management subsidiary of Canada's largest pension fund, has boosted its position in Brazil with the purchase of four shopping centres and more than doubled its stake in a local property partner.

The CA$237bn (€175bn) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec public pension fund has bought São Marcos Real Estate Enterprises, the owner of  holdings in four shopping centres in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for an undisclosed sum, to tap into in what officials say is "a flourishing and promising market".

Ivanhoe has gained a stronger foothold in the Brazilian retail market as São Marcos owns 51% of the Botafogo Praia Shopping in Rio de Janeiro, 100% of the entertainment area of
the Downtown complex, also in Rio de Janeiro, along with a 50% share of Sao Paulo's Shopping Interlagos and CenterVale Shopping centres.

Ivanhoe has had a presence in Brazil since 2006 when it first took a stake in the
development and management firm Ancar Gestão. (See earlier IPE Real Estate story: Canada's La Caisse takes Brazil real estate stake)

It has now increased its holding from 20% to 50%, and sees the Ivanhoe/Ancar partnership as a key element of its Brazilian activity as the company manages or own 15 shopping centres across five regions of Brazil.

Importantly, all the indications are La Caisse will continue to build on its expertise in both the retail and Brazilian markets, as well as extend its push into retail markets elsewhere.

"Ivanhoe Cambridge is moving ahead with its international expansion as called for in its strategic plan," says René Tremblay, president and chief executive of Ivanhoe Cambridge.

"This transaction not only allows us to reinforce our presence in Brazil, a market with excellent growth potential, but also to consolidate our ties with Ancar, our partner in this country. I am especially proud that we were able to seize this business opportunity, which meets our investment criteria."

Ivanhoe has a strong presence in the retail property market with over 70 "regional or super-regional" shopping centres, and only recently ventured into the Russian retail market. (See earlier IPE Real Estate story: Quebec enters scramble for Russia)

Thanks to this latest deal, the Ivanhoe group now manages real estate assets worth CAD$13.4bn on behalf of the pension fund, and has operations in United States, Brazil, Mexico and Europe, through either direct holdings or joint ventures, as well as offices in Europe and Asia.