Report: CIC to open Toronto office

The $300bn Chinese sovereign wealth fund is reportedly setting up an office in Toronto in a broader push to expand its international operations.

China Investment Corporation (CIC) is reportedly planning to open a representative office in Toronto – a move that would see it plant its first base outside China.

CIC could not be reached by press time to confirm the report.

No specific timeframe for the office opening has been set, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited a source at the Chinese sovereign wealth fund in relation to the Toronto plans.

The choice of Toronto may not be an obvious one to some, but viewed in light of CIC’s recent investments it is less surprising. In May last year, the Chinese SWF bought a 45 percent stake in an Alberta oil sands project owned by Penn West Energy Trust for C$817 million and a 5 percent interest in the company for C$435 million, according to a report from Canadian broadcaster CTV. In addition, CIC reportedly invested C$1.5 billion for a 17 percent stake in Vancouver-based mining firm Teck in 2009.

Further down to the south, CIC reportedly invested in US natural gas company Chesapeake Energy alongside Korea Investment Corp (KIC), Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and Chinese private equity firm Hopu Investment Management last year.

According to the CTV report, CIC also chose Toronto in order to strengthen its relationships with Canadian pension plans.

“We look forward to working with them more closely,” Mark Wiseman, executive vice president of investments at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, was quoted as saying in the report. “We have a good relationship with them. Our office in Hong Kong interacts with them regularly, and them having an office in Toronto will, we think, in the long run further our ability to partner with them in Asia, and for them to partner with us in North America.”

CIC has been actively internationalising its operations of late. In November last year, the sovereign wealth fund established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong to “develop and expand CIC’s investment activities outside the mainland”.