Exclusive-Alberta government calls off partnership with Chinese private equity fund


By Divya Rajagopal and Xie Yu

TORONTO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Alberta government has ended a partnership with a Chinese private equity fund that targeted $10 billion to invest in the natural resources sector, a spokesperson for the Alberta entity told Reuters.

The Alberta Industrial Heartland, a not for profit organization of the province of Alberta, and the Hong Kong-based private equity firm Can-China Global Resource Fund (CCGRF) had announced their partnership in 2016 to encourage investments across North America.

“This partnership no longer exists,” Karlee Conway Director Communications of the Alberta Industrial Heartland in an email response to Reuters. The spokesperson did not respond to the queries on why the partnership was called off and when.

The lead investor of the fund was China’s Export-Import Bank, Vancouver-based mining firm Hunter Dickinson and Swiss commodity trader Mercuria.

The previously unreported development comes as tension between China and Canada has escalated in recent years, though sources Reuters spoke to could not confirm whether the dissolution of the fund is a direct result of that.

Hong Kong-based MEC Advisory Ltd, which was tasked with managing the investments, CCGRF, Mercuria, Hunter Dickinson and EXIM Bank did not respond to Reuters’ email request for comment.

The only known investment by this fund was a C$722 million ($545.4 million) buyout of Calgary-based CQ Energy in 2017, a private natural gas production services company. The status of this investment is unknown.

Diplomatic ties between Beijing and Ottawa started to worsen after Canada arrested Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou in 2018 at the request of the United States. Following Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens accusing them of spying.

While all three were released in 2021, the relationship between China and Canada has not returned to normal.

($1 = 1.3256 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal and Xie Yu; Editing by Denny Thomas and Nick Zieminski)

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