UPDATE 1-Ontario Teachers fund first-half returns almost double from year earlier

(Adds comment from CIO, additional details)

TORONTO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canada’s third-biggest public pension fund, on Wednesday said net returns from investments almost doubled in the first half on positive performance across all asset classes in its portfolio.

The fund, which administers pensions for 327,000 working and retired teachers across Canada’s most populous province, reported net returns of 6.3% in the six months ended June 30, compared with 3.2% a year earlier.

Net assets increased to C$201.4 billion ($151.78 billion), from C$191.1 billion a year ago.

“In the first half of the year, we had positive performance across every asset class in our portfolio, led by fixed income,” Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo said in a statement.

However, the fund had a loss of C$2.5 billion in the first half, as the Canadian dollar’s strength against other currencies resulted in a negative 1.3% impact.

Ontario Teachers invests in over 50 countries. The fund plans to hire “extensively” in Asia and Europe over the next two years and could shift an extra C$11 billion into infrastructure and other real assets, Chief Executive Officer Ron Mock, who will be succeeded by Jo Taylor on his retirement on Jan. 1, 2020, told Reuters this month.

The fund’s most recent deals include the purchase of a 35% stake in cruise brand Dream Cruises as part of a consortium with TPG Capital Asia and TPG Growth; and an investment of up to $1 billion in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund in India.

In April, it announced the launch of the Teachers’ Innovation Platform, a new investment department to focus on late-stage venture capital and growth equity investments in technology disruptors.

$1 = 1.3269 Canadian dollars Reporting By Nichola Saminather, Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Zieminski