Power Corp. looking outside Canada for deals

TORONTO — Power Corp. of Canada co-CEO Paul Desmarais says there is little scope for “big, dramatic” acquisitions in the Canadian marketplace.

Desmarais says Power Corp. reshaped the Canadian insurance and mutual fund industries in recent decades by acquiring companies such as Mackenzie Investments, Canada Life and London Life through its subsidiary, Power Financial.

“There’s just not a lot to reshape in Canada,” Desmarais said when asked about the company’s growth aspirations following its annual shareholder meeting in Toronto Friday.

“There’s a few companies left but not a lot.”

Desmarais also echoed comments made Thursday by Power Financial Corp. CEO Jeffrey Orr, who said the U.S. is one of the markets where the company is looking for growth through acquisitions. But Desmarais suggested these deals might be smaller ones that supplement existing businesses.

“There we would look for what I call ‘bolt-ons,’” he said.

Power Corp. also reported a $258-million profit for this year’s first quarter. That’s equal to 56 cents per share (TSX:POW) and up from just $48 million or 10 cents per share a year ago.

The company said its quarterly dividend will increase seven per cent to 35.85 cents per share with the June 30 payout.

Total revenue was $13.78 billion, up $497 million or 3.7 per cent from last year.

Based in Montreal, Power Corp. is an international management and holding company with interests in a variety of sectors including financial services, renewable energy and communications.

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