Chinese group acquires resort in west Quebec

Updated: 2014-12-25 06:16

By ZHENG XIN in Beijing(China Daily Canada)

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Chinese group acquires resort in west Quebec

A logo of Evergrande Group in front of a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province in Nov 2014. REUTERS / Alex Lee

Evergrande, a major Chinese real estate group, has recently purchased the Fairmont Le Château Montebello resort complex in west Quebec.

Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd., China's third largest property developer, sees the purchase as its first investment in Canada, after its expansion into soccer team ownership and baby formula with the purchase of New Zealand's leading dairy producer Cowala Dairy Limited in early September.

The purchase is believed to be part of its efforts to diversify its businesses.

The Guangzhou-based property developer has heavily relied on real estate business growth since it was founded in 1997, and has outlined an ambitious plan to enter the consumer sector to sustain future development while maintaining future growth, company sources said.

Situated between Ottawa and Montreal, the historic log resort has been up for sale since this summer by Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees pension fund.

The hotel said operations are to continue as usual for the 350 employees. The financial terms and related details of the sale were not disclosed.

Montebello has hosted the world's leaders throughout its history, including the seventh G7 summit in 1987, with guests including Pierre Trudeau, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and François Mitterrand, along with the aides and security staffs, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in 1983, and the Trilateral summit in 2007, when the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States came together for a trilateral conference.

Located on one of the last surviving land grants made by 17th-Century French kings to early settlers of what was then La Nouvelle France, the resort is surrounded by 26,305 hectares (65,000 acres) of forested wildlife sanctuary and 70 lakes on the shore of the Ottawa River.

Founded in 1997 in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, Evergrande had initially focused on real estate, before it became known across the country following its investment in a Guangzhou-based soccer club in 2010.

After launching a bottled water brand late last year, it announced last month it had now established three subsidiary food companies focused on grain and oil, dairy and animal husbandry.

Xu Wen, vice-president of Evergrande Group, said earlier that part of Evergrande's strategy is to diversify its businesses amid a slowdown in the domestic property market.

The property developer has achieved its annual sales targets early after posting sales of 120.7 billion yuan ($19.6 billion) during the first 11 months of 2014.

Company data shows that Evergrande posted sales of 13.41 billion yuan in November that pushed the total 2014 sales over the annual target of 110 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 22.7 percent.