From Vale to Vail, why Canadian hot properties end up in foreign hands – by Don Pittis (CBC News Business – August 10, 2016)

On my only visit to Canada’s premier ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb, currently the target of a $1.4-billion takeover by a U.S. company, you needed a change of clothing from the chilly top to the balmy bottom.

As we saw during the 2010 Olympics, frosty weather and natural snow are no longer guaranteed at the side-by-side B.C. mountains. In fact, climate change may make the purchase of Whistler by Colorado-based Vail Resorts a shrinking asset despite a $345-million dollar plan to weatherproof the resort.

Nonetheless, foreign direct investors can’t seem to resist buying a piece of Canada, in this case perhaps because the resort is within easy striking distance of booming Vancouver and is a wilderness attraction for overseas visitors.

In the Vancouver area, when people think foreign ownership, they think houses, as offshore buyers with deep pockets look for somewhere safe to stash their cash.

But the same thing applies in the corporate world, only more so, according to economist Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Because traditional economic growth is weak, she says, companies are growing by buying.

“What comes to top of mind is this process of corporate consolidation in the wake of the 2008 crisis where there is no demand growth, so the way you grow your profits is by eating other smaller, profitable companies,” Yalnizyan says.

Of course, she says, its a two-way market, with Canadian banks and pension funds scooping up foreign assets as well.

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