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CEO of the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan, John Crocker in his office.

Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail

The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan has purchased two shopping malls in the Czech Republic, marking the fund's first investment in the eastern European country.

The pension fund, which manages $35.7-billion in assets for Ontario hospital and health care workers, partnered on the deal with European real estate investment firm Meyer Bergman. HOOPP said the deal is worth €290-million, or about $402-million.

The shopping centres included in the deal are the New Karolina mall, located in Ostrava, which has 58,000 square metres of leasable shopping space, and the Forum Usti in the city of Usti, which has 27,000 square metres of shopping space.

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HOOPP chief executive officer John Crocker said in a release he is pleased to make the fund's first investment in the Czech Republic, calling the properties "a fine addition to our portfolio." HOOPP has more than $5-billion invested in real estate.

"Real estate investments closely match the needs of our members, since the investment provides a steady stream of income," Mr. Crocker said. "It's also an excellent hedge against inflation."

Markus Meijer, CEO and founder of London-based Meyer Bergman, called the deal a "landmark" for his firm.

"We believe in the strength of the Czech economy and its retail environment and are confident that these prime shopping centres are well placed to deliver strong value creation for our investors," he said in a release.

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About the Author
Real Estate Reporter

Janet McFarland is the real estate reporter for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, with a focus on residential real estate trends. She joined Report on Business in 1995, and has specialized in reporting on corporate governance, executive compensation, pension policy, business law, securities regulation and enforcement of white-collar crime. More

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