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Caisse de dépôt expands in Australia with acquisition

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec building in Montreal.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is expanding its Australian investment portfolio by partnering with two other funds in the acquisition of the country's largest diagnostic imaging company.

The Caisse has joined Swedish private equity fund EQT Mid Market and Singapore sovereign wealth fund investor GIC in a deal to buy I-Med Network.

No details on the transaction price were announced, but the Australian press has estimated the deal to be in the $400-million (U.S.) range.

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I-Med operates 200 clinics throughout Australia and has about 300 radiologists and other specialists on staff.

The deal – announced Monday – is the latest investment in Australia by a Canadian pension fund. There have been several major transactions involving pension plans from Canada over the past few years, especially in real estate and infrastructure as institutional investors diversify away from North America and Europe.

Australia has a relatively stable economy compared with many emerging countries and is an ideal platform for expansion into the Asia-Pacific market.

"This acquisition alongside quality partners such as EQT Mid Market and GIC fits in perfectly with our strategy to invest in growth markets," said Normand Provost, executive vice-president of private equity at the Caisse.

"I-Med brings to the table a solid track record and business plan, with good prospects for the future and opportunities for expansion."

Among the Caisse's previous investments in Australia are a stake in the Port of Brisbane, the third largest container port in the country, and positions in seven diverse infrastructure projects with the Plenary Group.

I-Med's is currently owned by several hedge funds including Anchorage Capital Group and Fortress Investment Group.

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EQT Mid Market was founded by Sweden's Wallenberg family, which has a presence in large global industrial groups such as Ericsson, Electrolux and AstraZeneca.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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