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Report on Business writer Andy Willis.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Global investment bank Lazard Ltd. landed a veteran Canadian mining deal maker from RBC Dominion Securities Inc. ahead of an expected increase in takeover activity from natural resource companies.

Lazard brought in Tim Loftsgard as a managing director in its 12-person Toronto office, which the firm opened last September. Mr. Loftsgard was at RBC for 18 years and his client list includes advisory work for gold companies, base metal plays, along with Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. At Lazard, he will also cover what's known as diversified industries, which includes the major agricultural companies.

New York-based Lazard has investment bankers based in Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S., and was primarily covering Canadian mining companies from its office in London prior to Mr. Loftsgard's arrival this week.

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"Mining is a truly global business, which Lazard covers around the world, and we are thrilled to have someone with Tim's experience join our Canadian team," said Brian Hanson, chief executive officer at Lazard Canada Investment Banking. He said Mr. Loftsgard is expected to work on both cross-border transactions and domestic deals between Canadian natural resource companies.

In recent months, Lazard worked on transactions at a Russian gold company, U.S. coal producer and British steel maker. Mr. Hanson said there's an expectation that the pace of deals in the sector will continue to pick up in coming months.

"We are at a low point in the mining cycle and we believe we will see an uptick in M&A activity," said Mr. Hanson, but he added that Lazard does not time hiring to expectations on where the market is going, focusing instead on recruiting the highest quality talent.

The Canadian M&A market is booming despite a notable lack in activity in the mining sector, as domestic energy companies snapped up Alberta oil sands assets from foreign players, Canadian utilities staged a series of friendly U.S. takeovers and domestic pension plans acquired foreign assets.

In two of the last three years, international banks grabbed four of the top five spots in ranking of Canadian M&A advisers, according to statistics published by Thomson Reuters. Lazard did not crack the list. In recent years, some combination of Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and JPMorgan held down top spots as advisers on Canadian deals.

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