(Reuters) - Home Capital Group Inc said billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc will provide a new C$2 billion ($1.50 billion) line of credit to its unit Home Trust Co, ending the Canadian lender’s strategic review process.
Berkshire will also indirectly buy C$400 million of Home Capital’s common shares in a private placement through its unit Columbia Insurance Co, Home Capital said on Wednesday.
“Home Capital’s strong assets, its ability to originate and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its leading position in a growing market sector make this a very attractive investment,” said Warren Buffett, Berkshire chairman and CEO.Berkshire will hold an about 38.39 percent equity stake in Home Capital after buying 40 million shares at an average price of about C$10.00 per common share.
Berkshire will make an initial investment of C$153.2 million to buy 16 million common shares and an additional investment of C$246.8 million to purchase 24 million shares through a private placement.
The additional investment is subject to shareholder approval, while the initial investment will not require approval from shareholders.
Canada’s biggest non-bank lender also said it will continue to explore further asset sales and financing deals over the next year, but has concluded its strategic review process that began in April.
“This investment from Berkshire not only addresses Home Capital’s near-term requirements for additional liquidity and a lower-cost credit agreement, but also facilitates what the Board feels is the best available path to long-term success,” Home Capital’s Chair Brenda Eprile said.
Berkshire will not be granted any rights to nominate directors to Home Capital board or any governance rights as an equity holder, Home Capital said.
The C$2 billion loan facility, expected to be effective on June 29, will replace the existing one for a similar amount between Home Trust Company and a major institutional investor.
On Tuesday, the company said it would sell a portfolio of commercial mortgage assets valued at C$1.2 billion to bolster its liquidity and trim outstanding debt on a C$2 billion emergency facility it agreed with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan in April.
Last week, Home Capital reached a C$30.5 million settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission, settled a class action lawsuit and accepted responsibility for misleading investors about problems with its mortgage underwriting procedures.
The settlement is expected to help secure long-term financing at sustainable interest rates, investors and analysts said.
Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair and Gopakumar Warrier
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