Pension plan dresses up assets

The corporate logo of Norwegian clothing designer Helly Hansen Group AS is shown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

TORONTO - The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is dressing up its investments, gaining a majority stake in Norwegian clothing designer Helly Hansen Group AS.

Teachers is acquiring roughly 75 per cent of Helly Hansen from Altor Fund II, which is keeping a quarter stake in the company. Financial terms weren't disclosed in Friday's announcement.

"Helly Hansen is an iconic brand with a long heritage and a strong commitment to innovation and design," said Teachers Private Capital vice-president Jo Taylor, who heads the pension plan's London office.

"We see excellent opportunities to continue growing revenues and international awareness outside the core European markets."

Helly Hansen is headquartered in Oslo and designs and markets outdoor apparel. It employs 500 people.

CEO Peter Sjolander says Helly Hansen is happy to have Teachers as a long-term owner.

The fund's strong financial backing and established global footprint will be invaluable as we look to expand the Helly Hansen brand internationally, particularly in North America," said Sjolander.

Teachers has $117.1 billion in assets and is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada.

It invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 300,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.

Last month, the fund invested US$400 million in Kyobo Life Insurance Co. Ltd., the third-largest insurance company in South Korea.

Teachers recently sold its stake in the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment franchise to Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B), Bell Canada (TSX:BCE) and Larry Tannenbaum of Kilmer Sports.