Fortis to sell off Properties division, focus on utilities
Fortis Inc. will be selling off its Properties division, which includes shopping malls and hotels, in Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Canada.
The company owns 23 hotels in eight provinces, including local landmarks such as the Delta and Sheraton hotels in downtown St. John's, plus major commercial buildings in Atlantic Canada.
"It's really a question about strategy and strategic fit, so Fortis's principally a utility company … and the property company was really a non-core part of that utility strategy, so really it was a decision to look at fit and focusing really on the utility strategy moving forward," Duke told CBC News.
"The properties company has been a successful business and really continues to be — it's a strong operating company, but really for Fortis, our parent company, it's really a question about fit and focusing on the utilities strategy."
Duke said the sale would mean Fortis is getting out of the property business entirely as an "exit strategy," and selling off all of its buildings.
She added it's hard to say what will happen to the various business entities operating at the properties, and how it will effect jobs.
"Time will tell. It will really depend on who buys, and it's too early to say at this point. Many of those jobs would continue on, but really it would depend on who the new owner might be," said Duke.
"It's hard to say, but I will say that these operating entities would still need to carry on and service customers and tenants and guests in the future, so one would think many of those jobs would be secure in the future, but again I don't want to speak on behalf of a new owner."
Duke said the company's focus will be on the utility side of things — gas and electric — across North America going forward.