Tshuva in Canada Expansion

Shrinking oil-refining margins isn't stopping Yitzhak Tshuva from taking advantage of real estate opportunities created during global credit crisis.

Energy and real estate magnate Yitzhak Tshuva may be feeling financially stung by shrinking oil-refining margins, but that isn't stopping him from taking advantage of the opportunities created in real estate during the global credit crisis. Elad Group Canada, Tshuva's privately-owned North American property company, is making moves to buy a publicly traded Canadian real estate firm for about $500 million.

Elad will be using $200 million of its own capital for the acquisition, and will be bowwing the rest from financial institutions and/or partners to be brought in.

This news comes a few days after Tshuva's publicly traded energy company Delek U.S. Holdings reported negotiations to buy a portfolio including a refinery, 450 gas stations and convenience stores, a fuel storage and distribution facility and a fleet of tanker trucks.

Delek Group did not identify its negotiating partner or the refinery, which it said could produce between 75,000 and 100,000 barrels per day.

Elad Group Canada is one of the largest real estate groups in Canada, with a portfolio valued in the billions of dollars. Its assets include 18,000 housing units, mainly in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City; 455,000 square meters of income-yielding commercial property and land zoned for the construction of over 9,000 housing units in various stages of development.

Elad is managed by CEO Uzi Levy, who joined the company about six months ago after four years at the helm of Bank Leumi's construction and real estate department and previous senior positions in the Finance Ministry.

The Canadian real estate market remains stable thanks to Canada's strong economy, which is backed by large oil reserves and high demand for metals and chemicals. The subprime crisis has not yet hit Canada because relatively few such loans were extended there. The yield on income-producing properties in Canada continues to decline and property prices are on the rise, as is the occupancy of office buildings.

In parallel, Delek is sending a team to Vietnam to explore real estate investment opportunities in that neck of the world woods.