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Ottawa's Minto Meeting with Advisers on Possible Multifamily IPO

Sources Say Company has Hired Investment Advisers from Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank for Potential IPO
May 8, 2018
Minto Yorkville at 61 Yorkville Ave. in Toronto.

One of Canada's largest and longest operating real estate companies has hired investment bankers as it considers spinning off some of its extensive apartment holdings into a publicly traded entity, according to sources.

The Minto Group, a private, Ottawa-based real estate company, has hired Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank to explore an initial public offering for a multifamily portfolio expected to produce a market capitalization of about $500 million.

Which properties in the company's extensive portfolio would be put into the publicly-traded real estate structure and how large the public float will be are still to be determined, according to sources. The filing is expected in the next few weeks.

Officials with BMO, TD and Minto were not available for comment.

Established in 1955, Minto Properties has 13,000 rental units under management and a portfolio of about 2.7 million square feet of commercial space in London, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. The company's operations run the gamut from home building and asset and property management to acquisitions and dispositions, development, financing and related support functions. Its $2.9 billion portfolio includes proprietary capital as well as private equity funds and managed accounts with institutional partners.

The company owns 17 apartments in Ottawa, 16 in the Greater Toronto Area, 13 in London, six in Calgary and five in Edmonton, according to its website.

Minto was formed by Ottawa's legendary Greenberg family, which Canadian Business magazine estimated had a net worth of $1.57 billion in 2015. The company was created in 1955 by four brothers Gilbert, Irving, Lorry and Louis Greenberg. Roger Greenberg, the son of Louis, remains chairman of the Minto board.

Among its key board members are Paul Douglas, group head of Canadian business banking for TD Bank Group, and Philip Orsino, who also sits on the board of Bank of Montreal.

The Canadian REIT IPO market has been relatively flat, but market watchers are keeping a keen eye on pricing for Toronto-based BSR REIT, which announced in April plans to go public. BSR, which has filed a preliminary prospectus but not yet priced its offering, was formed to own and operate a portfolio of multifamily real estate properties located in the Sunbelt region of the United States.

"I think Minto [bankers] will watch the BSR deal closely" to gauge market reaction, said one source, though the pricing is not expected to be all that similar as the two move forward because the Minto entity would exclusively have domestic properties in it.

One Bay Street insider noted, "Minto is a good brand name in Canada," and he expects there to be strong investor interest in a publicly-traded vehicle bearing its name.

"If it is appropriately structured from a leverage perspective, there is a yield that will clear," he said, about a successful IPO. "The devil will be in the details. Are they planning an internal management structure like BSR, or because of existing relationships, will it be external?"

Garry Marr, Toronto Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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