Friday, March 3, 2017

--5. Legal experts point out the remarkable speed with which this deal was approved by the federal government, considering the layers of ownership and the sheer task of translating and verifying supporting documents from Chinese to English.----------“Anbang joins a well-worn path used by Chinese companies that entered the global financial system with ties to China’s political elite,” it said. Following other international and Chinese publications, it had details of Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui’s links “to some of the most powerful families in China. He married Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping.”-----------On March 28, The Wall Street Journal described Anbang as being “opaque both at home and abroad,” with a “complicated web of investors that is difficult to unravel.”-------------The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada wasn’t able to offer any specific details about its recent review of Anbang’s purchase.-----------when Ambrose asked the PM who, exactly, owns Anbang, Trudeau responded in boilerplate speak. “Canada is a trading nation that relies on engagement with countries around the world to create good jobs in Canada and to create economic growth,” the PM offered, unhelpfully. “We have a policy that allows us to draw-in global investments to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians while at the same time ensuring that they are in Canadians’ interests, and to the benefit of our country as we move forward in a thoughtful and responsible way. That is exactly what we did in this case.” The interim Conservative leader, undaunted, asked how many more of these deals the PM is going to make with China. In response, Trudeau said this: “The government continues to be open to investments that create middle class jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. Cedar Tree has confirmed a strong commitment to the ongoing quality of operations of Canadian retirement residences and to its health care workers.”

Team Trudeau has let in a political elite via the approval of major property sales in Canada. We know very little about the approval process or the investors involved. The company -Anbang seems to have ties to folks in the government of China. Why were these deals approved so fast and without public scrutiny? Is Team Trudeau actually Team Harper? Is profit making for an elite the goal of government at all levels? Are we screwed?
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It is troubling to note that continuing care in Canada is turning into real estate development. Mr.  Trudeau has shown himself to be no different than Mr. Harper in letting in the Chinese with their major cash into the nation. Only problem is why is he letting such investors into Canada? I mean we don't know much about where they are getting their cash and who the actual investors are. And such companies seem to be vetted in mysterious ways by the federal government. This not good news for Canadians who believed that hiring Team Trudeau would end the foreign ownership of what should be public sector services-such as continuing care. Instead we are seeing Team Trudeau opening the door to murky investors with tons of cash who can basically do what they want with continuing care properties after a certain time limit.
This is the story of Mr. Trudeau's selling off of the public interest. And creating what feels like a Ponzi real estate scheme using Chinese money from dubious sources.

Anbang’s B.C. acquisition raises questions about Ottawa’s approach to foreign takeovers: Wells

The Chinese company has been given the government's blessing to acquire a Vancouver-based chain of retirement homes, but Trudeau struggled with explaining the deal.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as they wait for a signing ceremony to take place in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose has questioned Trudeau over how many more foreign investment deals he would be making with China.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as they wait for a signing ceremony to take place in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose has questioned Trudeau over how many more foreign investment deals he would be making with China.  (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)  
By JENNIFER WELLSBusiness Columnist
Sat., Feb. 25, 2017
If the prime minister is interested in taking a second crack at Rona Ambrose’s question, he would do well to call up Stephen Schwarzman.
Schwarzman, you may recall, is the CEO of the Blackstone Group, a Godzilla-sized private equity firm in New York with $100 billion (U.S.) in assets under management. He’s also economic adviser to Donald Trump through the president’s strategic and policy forum. In January, Schwarzman flew to Calgary, apparently to reassure Trudeau et al., about future U.S.-Canada economic relations.
Wearing his Blackstone hat, Schwarzman and his group sold their Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. to China’s Anbang Insurance Group last September, a reported $6.5-billion deal. Blackstone’s further discussions with Anbang have included the potential sale of Japanese apartment buildings and Dutch office holdings.
So perhaps Schwarzman’s due diligence could assist the prime minister the next time Trudeau is called upon to throw some light on Anbang, which has been given the government’s blessing to acquire Retirement Concepts, a Vancouver-based chain of retirement homes. For the purposes of this transaction, Anbang is using the corporate moniker Cedar Tree Investment Canada Inc.
As it was, when Ambrose asked the PM who, exactly, owns Anbang, Trudeau responded in boilerplate speak.
“Canada is a trading nation that relies on engagement with countries around the world to create good jobs in Canada and to create economic growth,” the PM offered, unhelpfully. “We have a policy that allows us to draw-in global investments to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians while at the same time ensuring that they are in Canadians’ interests, and to the benefit of our country as we move forward in a thoughtful and responsible way. That is exactly what we did in this case.”
The interim Conservative leader, undaunted, asked how many more of these deals the PM is going to make with China. In response, Trudeau said this: “The government continues to be open to investments that create middle class jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. Cedar Tree has confirmed a strong commitment to the ongoing quality of operations of Canadian retirement residences and to its health care workers.”
There’s a lot to unpack. And it’s important, both because of Trudeau’s pledge to reset the country’s relationship with China and his commitment to openness and transparency where foreign investment is concerned.
On the latter point, approval of the takeover under the Investment Canada Act offers the public nothing by way of disclosure. This deal is thick with fog in regards to the “net benefit” to Canada. We shouldn’t have to go begging to Ottawa to understand what promises and pledges have been made to meet what has, since its inception in 1985, been an inadequate test. Disclosure should be automatic and specific.
When queried, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada offers up a few general statements. The acquirer pledges to maintain the current levels of full-time and part-time employees, though wage retention is not mentioned. This is interesting: Anbang must “maintain a significant level of unleveraged equity here in Canada.”
How the government is going to benchmark this “significant level” is unknown.
What it telegraphs is that the Liberals are alert to the red flags that have been waving over Anbang regarding risk concerns. In September 2015, Anbang, through Maple Tree (Freehold) Inc., purchased the HSBC building at 70 York St. for $110 million. The directors of Maple Tree cross reference to the directors of Maple Red Financial Management Canada Inc., Maple Red being the acquiring name Anbang used to purchase Vancouver’s Bentall Centre. Searching the disclosure required under the Canada Business Corporations Act is about as useful as that of the Investment Canada Act. Which is to say, not. Presumably the government of the day is aware of the full scope of the Anbang real estate empire in Canada and how leveraged it is?
What we do know is that in a scant dozen years Anbang has come from nowhere to build a conglomerate that reaches beyond insurance (personal, property, casualty) into asset management, finance, leasing and more. China Daily reports that the company was founded in 2004 by a group of state-owned companies, including Shanghai Automotive Industry Group and Sinopec Group (China Petrochemical Corp.) The company came sharply to the attention of American business media when it purchased the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for $1.95 billion in October 2014. The move into hospitality, including the deal with Blackstone, seemed sudden and surprising for an insurance company. Anbang appears to have no investments in retirement care prior to its bid for Retirement Concepts.
The public face of Anbang is chairman and CEO Wu Xiaohui, who was married to Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter. Two years ago, a south China weekly apologized for suggesting that the growth of the company was spurred by political connections, including a tie to Chen Xiaolu, son of one of the founders of the People’s Republic of China. Chen told a financial news outlet that while he is a long time business partner of Wu’s, he is only a consultant to Anbang and owns no shares.
Who does? It isn’t just the corporate construction of Anbang that’s opaque. It’s the Canadian system. And here we thought Justin Trudeau was going to let the sunshine in.
jenwells@thestar.ca
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It is very troubling that we don't know how the heck the federal government screened Anbang and its investors. If this company is associated with the Chinese government why are we allowing them to be investing in Canada? Why are we allowing any company  with ties to the government of China into Canada much less allowing them into senior care in B.C.? What are we --cows to be milked?


The coordination of this sell off between federal and provincial liberal governments is also  interesting. In BC we have the sale of senior care to the foreign investor of unknown nature that the federal government has no problems with despite it's major shopping spree all over the world. I'd say the government at both levels needs to rethink these sorts of selling off of Canadian properties.

This company first invested in Vancouver properties as noted here:
http://vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-estate/chinas-anbang-gobbles-up-bentall-centre-amid-global-buying-spree


Ottawa approves Chinese firm Anbang’s $660-million stake in Vancouver’s Bentall Centre

Published on: May 19, 2016 | Last Updated: May 19, 2016 5:43 PM PST
The Bentall centre in downtown Vancouver.
The Bentall centre in downtown Vancouver. GERRY KAHRMANN / VANCOUVER SUN
The deal by China’s Anbang Insurance Group to pay around $660 million for a controlling stake in downtown Vancouver’s Bentall Centre was eye-catching for its dollar value, which triggered a federal review.
The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada wasn’t able to offer any specific details about its recent review of Anbang’s purchase.
But, between the deal first being reported on Feb. 17 and it finalizing in a share sale in April, much more has come to light about Anbang.
China's Anbang Insurance Group (pictured) now owns a controlling stake in Vancouver's Bentall Centre.
China’s Anbang Insurance Group (pictured). ANDY WONG / AP
Starting in April 2015, under the Investment Canada Act, the threshold for a review of an investment in Canada by a foreign company to control a Canadian business was raised to $600 million.  
Along with this higher threshold, there are new information requirements. For investments that fall below $600 million and don’t trigger a full review, a foreign investor must reveal the names of its board members, five highest paid officers, any person or entity that owns 10 per cent of its equity or voting interests, and whether it is “owned, controlled or influenced, directly or indirectly by a foreign government and sources of funding for the investment.”
If a deal exceeds the $600-million mark and sparks a review, more onerous questions must be answered, according to legal experts.
(To compare, when German billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne bought Royal Centre, another downtown Vancouver property, reportedly for around $400 million, the ministry, in March, noted the deal as an investment from Germany but did not subject it to a review.)  
Anbang’s Canadian vehicle for buying Bentall Centre is Vancouver-based Maple Red Financial Management Canada.
From its Granville Square office, Maple Red now controls about 66 per cent of the Bentall Centre property, which includes four office towers and underground retail space totalling 1.5 million square feet. It started doing so after taking majority ownership of three Canadian companies, a move reflected in address and director changes on land documents filed April 19 and 20. (The other owner is Great-West Life Assurance Co.’s Toronto-based property arm, GWL Realty Advisors.)
For the most part, large institutional and corporate players from mainland China such as Anbang have been absent from the Vancouver market.
Instead — along with more immigrants and investors with ties to mainland China buying homes in Vancouver — it’s been smaller companies backed by private wealth that have bought commercial land and buildings here. In general, they are holding or redeveloping these into mixed-use properties with condos, townhouses and retail shops.
Anbang is markedly different from these ventures. It had already purchased the Waldorf-Astoria New York hotel for $1.95 billion in October 2014 in what was the biggest acquisition of a U.S. real estate asset by a Chinese buyer.
Following news of the Bentall sale — but before the transaction was approved by Ottawa and closed in land title documents — Anbang took centre stage in U.S. business with its surprise offer on March 10, along with two smaller Chinese companies, to pay $12.8 billion in cash for Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Anbang had previously bid for the hotel chain in 2014, but retreated.
However, at this point, Marriott had already cleared U.S. regulatory hurdles to acquire Starwood for $12.2 billion.
Then, on March 18, Starwood accepted a $13.2-billion cash offer from the Anbang-led group. This pushed Marriott to come back with an offer of $13.6 billion.
Starwood Hotels was caught up in a bidding war last month between Marriott and a group of investors led by the Chinese insurance company Anbang.
Starwood Hotels was caught up in a bidding war between Marriott and a group of investors led by the Chinese insurance company Anbang. DAMIAN DOVARGANES / AP
By March 28, Starwood said Anbang would go to $14 billion. At the same time, Starwood was also pressing Anbang for proof of financing and regulatory approval.
During the back and forth, Anbang’s pursuit of what was heading toward being the largest deal ever by a Chinese company in the U.S. started drawing intense scrutiny. Who was behind it?
Anbang was offering more cash, but Marriott urged Starwood investors to focus “on the certainty of (its) financing and the timing of any required regulatory approvals.”
On March 28, The Wall Street Journal described Anbang as being “opaque both at home and abroad,” with a “complicated web of investors that is difficult to unravel.”
The WSJ said Anbang’s ownership, according to its most recent public filings, is a “mash of corporate shareholders, with multiple layers of holding companies registered all around (mainland China.) Anbang told the WSJ “it is owned by more than 30 corporate investors that don’t participate in the daily operation of the company.”
On March 29, The New York Times described Anbang as a “reclusive Chinese insurer” with unclear backing.  
“Anbang joins a well-worn path used by Chinese companies that entered the global financial system with ties to China’s political elite,” it said. Following other international and Chinese publications, it had details of Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui’s links “to some of the most powerful families in China. He married Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping.”http://vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-http://vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-estate/chinas-anbang-gobbles-up-bentall-centre-amid-global-buying-spreehttp://vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-estate/chinas-anbang-gobbles-up-bentall-centre-amid-global-buying-spreeestate/chinas-anbang-gobbles-up-bentall-centre-amid-global-buying-spree
It also said: “A close examination of Anbang’s shareholding structure shows that 37 companies control more than 93 per cent of Anbang, while two Chinese state-owned companies own the rest … The companies could not be reached for comment, and their common website now contains only links to pornography and gambling services.”
The Times article continued: “The companies injected billions of dollars in capital into Anbang in 2014, its documents show, increasing its registered capital fivefold from 2011 levels and making it bigger than any other Chinese insurance company.”
The next day, on March 31, Anbang unexpectedly said it was walking away from the deal, citing “various market considerations.”
Since then, Anbang has struck one new deal to pay more than $3 million for the South Korean operations of Germany’s Allianz SE. It is also under contract to buy another U.S. hotel company, Strategic Hotels & Resorts, from Blackstone Group LP for $6.5 billion.
jlee-young@postmedia.com
With research by Sandra Boutilier


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I can't believe that the federal government would approve of such a company buying into major real estate in Canada. What the heck is wrong with Team Trudeau. Are they so into supporting the elite that they can't see that a company owned by political players in China is not a good thing for Canada?

http://vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-estate/chinas-anbang-gobbles-up-bentall-centre-amid-global-buying-spree
“Anbang joins a well-worn path used by Chinese companies that entered the global financial system with ties to China’s political elite,” it said. Following other international and Chinese publications, it had details of Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui’s links “to some of the most powerful families in China. He married Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping.”



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Wow. Just wow. Where are the brains in government. It's all about the dollar, the dollar bill yo!

Not satisfied with giving up parts of Vancouver to the Chinese elite the Team Trudeau hands over senior care as well to foreign investors. Wow just wow. The Team Trudeau was a big mistake.
What the heck is going on in Ottawa? Is it TrumpCanada?

Trudeau hands over senior care to this group with no compunction what so ever. This must be what he means by resetting the relationship with China.

http://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/five-things-anbangs-1-billion-purchase-of-b-c-s-biggest-seniors-care-provider

Five things: Anbang's $1-billion purchase of B.C.'s biggest seniors care provider

Published on: March 2, 2017 | Last Updated: March 2, 2017 5:54 PM PST
The Bentall Centre in downtown Vancouver was bought by Anbang for more than $1 billion in 2016.
The Bentall Centre in downtown Vancouver was bought by Anbang for more than $1 billion in 2016. GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG
B.C.’s health ministry has granted the licences needed for the province’s largest provider of seniors care to be acquired by China’s Anbang Insurance Group, in a deal believed to be worth more than $1 billion.
The process began just over a week ago when Ottawa approved the transaction for Anbang to buy Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts. Here are five things to consider:
1. There was near zero opposition when Anbang finalized its $1 billion-plus purchase of the Bentall Centre in downtown Vancouver in 2016. However, both the federal and provincial opposition health critics, among others, have raised issues about overseeing the standard of care that Retirement Concepts will provide under Anbang ownership. There is also the question of how the deal met current requirements set by the Investment Canada Act.
2. Anbang’s interest in Retirement Concepts is motivated by a desire to learn about quality seniors care so it can offer such services in China, where the market for this is vast and nascent, according to some sources ready to facilitate the deal.
3. This would be an acquisition that looks different to anything else Anbang has bought or tried to buy. Most of its overseas deals have involved insurance companies, including ones in Belgium and Korea, or hotels in North America. It famously bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for US $1.95 billion in 2014 and failed to buy the U.S. chain Starwood Hotels despite a sweetheart offer of US $14 billion. It paid US $6.5 billion for about 15 hotels when it completed a deal to buy Strategic Hotels and Resorts from The Blackstone Group in 2016. It has also bought hotels across Canada.
4. Some of the purchases Anbang has pursued in the U.S. and Europe have failed because regulators and investment bankers haven’t been able to figure out who owns the company. The New York Times sent Chinese-speaking reporters and assistants into remote villages and office towers. They found a fuzzy picture of almost 40 shell companies linked to the Anbang chairman’s wife, the granddaughter of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping; Chen Xiaolu, the son of a notable general; and a few, little-known Chinese state-owned companies.
5. Legal experts point out the remarkable speed with which this deal was approved by the federal government, considering the layers of ownership and the sheer task of translating and verifying supporting documents from Chinese to English.
jlee-young@postmedia.com
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Julie Ali ·
It is troubling that both the federal Liberal party and the provincial Liberal party in BC are willing to allow this sort of foreign ownership of seniors care. But it is unsurprising to me that this has happened. It feels like all political parties are interested in are profits for private investors -even those in China.

The speed of the transaction approval is also surprising considering that real estate developers and private investors will be in charge of the care of vulnerable seniors. The ongoing downloading of care by government to the private sector either by P3 arrangements of the sort we have in Alberta where public money helps finance real estate asset development or by this sort of murky sell out -- means an ongoing abdication of government responsibilities to the free market. I guess this is what Mr. Trudeau meant when he talked about resetting the relationship with China.

https://www.thestar.com/.../anbangs-bc-acquisition-raises...

The interim Conservative leader, undaunted, asked how many more of these deals the PM is going to make with China. In response, Trudeau said this: “The government continues to be open to investments that create middle class jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. Cedar Tree has confirmed a strong commitment to the ongoing quality of operations of Canadian retirement residences and to its health care workers.”
There’s a lot to unpack. And it’s important, both because of Trudeau’s pledge to reset the country’s relationship with China and his commitment to openness and transparency where foreign investment is concerned.

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This is not transparent government and certainly the investments being permitted are very troubling especially when we know that the deal is only to maintain current operations for three years for these seniors.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/.../bc.../article34181624/

The province received a commitment that the company will continue delivering existing services for a minimum of three years under the new ownership. That goes beyond existing provincial regulations which would have only demanded a one-year guarantee, but details of that agreement are shrouded in secrecy.

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Seems to me that this case--is all about profit making for a political elite in China that Team Trudeau is happy to do business with.

This sort of deal making seems no different than the work of Team Harper. It is a global sell off of Canadian assets to murky shareholders with ties to the government of China. Personally I find it difficult to understand why these deals were permitted and I believe there should be no more approvals of similar new deals until we get the full disclosure of the true owners of these companies.
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This sort of junk does not breed confidence in me about the intellectual ability of the folks in Ottawa. Selling off Canada isn't making a new relationship with China. It means making profits for an elite that is certainly benefiting big time. But ordinary Canadian families won't be benefiting. Nor will seniors.

The mercenary nature of political parties is revealed to us in all it's unsavoury form. It's troubling. But at least now we know Team Trudeau is the same as Team Harper. And certainly we understand in Alberta that Team Notley is the same as Team Prentice.


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