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Scotia Capital rules the highways Add to ...

No matter how bad the traffic, Scotia Capital executives will have a reason to smile when they travel Ontario highways over the next 50 years.

A winner emerged Wednesday in the beauty contest for a new operator of 23 gas stations, stores and fast food outlets on Ontario's major highways. A special-purpose company named Host Kilmer Service Centres won what's estimated to be a $300-million contract.

Infrastructure specialists at Scotia Capital, the investment dealer arm of Bank of Nova Scotia, advised the winning bidder. This was a high-profile contest, and financial backers of rival bidders included Royal Bank of Canada, National Bank and Brookfield Asset Management.

The new service stations begin to open in September, and Host Kilmer's contract to run the facilities goes until 2060. Once completed in 2013, the network of centers is expected to generate $100-million in annual sales, or $9-billion over the life of this agreement.

Canadian Tire took a major step forward on the gasoline retailing front as the operator of fuel stations.

Host Kilmer is a partnership between Maryland-based HMSHost Corp. which runs hundreds of travel plazas, and Kilmer Van Nostrand, the infrastructure-focused private equity fund headed by Larry Tanenbaum. HMSHost also runs the retail and restaurant side of Toronto's Pearson airport.

Mr. Tanenbaum made his fortune in paving and cable, but is best known as part owner and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owner of Toronto's NHL, NBA and MLS franchises.

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