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France, an essential market

CDPQ Around the World Montréal,

With investments in France totalling nearly CAD 23 billion (EUR 14.7 billion) – up CAD 10 billion over the past five years – the country is a leading market for CDPQ, particularly in infrastructure and real estate.

A featured participant at the Paris Infraweek in October, CDPQ has several household names in infrastructure among the companies in its portfolio, including transportation operators Eurostar and Keolis and equipment manufacturer Alstom.

Ivanhoé Cambridge, CDPQ’s real estate subsidiary, recently developed the iconic Tours DUO in Paris, among other major projects in France in recent ​​​​​​​years.

Vivian Nicoli at Infraweek with the CEOs of The Keolis Group, Colisée Group and Eurostar, three companies in CDPQ’s portfolio.

CDPQ was a main partner at this year's Paris Infraweek. Vivian Nicoli moderated a panel discussion with three CEOs from CDPQ's Infrastructure portfolio companies: Marie-Ange Debon from Keolis, Christine Jeandel from Groupe Colisée, and Gwendoline Cazenave from Eurostar.

“France has some of the world’s best infrastructure and, with its transparent and predictable regulatory and legal systems, provides a favourable environment for long-term investors like CDPQ. The market is diversified and dynamic, with public, private, national and international players all coexisting,” says Vivian Nicoli, Managing Director, Infrastructure, Europe and Managing Director, CDPQ Paris.

She further explains that the French capital is a major European financial centre that also enjoys a large concentration of innovative companies, international organizations and financial institutions.

“There is an immense need for investment in energy transition infrastructure. With France’s long tradition of partnering with the private sector to deliver critical solutions, all the pieces are in place” — Vivian Nicoli

Opened in 2012, CDPQ Paris is now home to over 20 experts who work to target promising opportunities for CDPQ in across different infrastructure sectors in the region. With France representing almost 5% of CDPQ’s total portfolio, the organization intends to continue pursuing its investment strategy both within the country – and in Europe –by focusing on assets that contribute to the transition toward a greener, more resilient economy. This can be alongside trusted partners or as a controlling shareholder.

A recent example: Akiem, a market leader in locomotive leasing in France and Europe, was acquired last year by CDPQ.  The company is active in 21 countries and owns the largest fleet on the continent—75% of which is already electric—a number that is expected to grow in the coming years.

Solid foundations in real estate

Arnaud Malbos
Arnaud Malbos,
Senior Vice President, Investments, Europe at Ivanhoé Cambridge

France also has a diversified and dynamic real estate market that offers investment opportunities in different sectors, including offices, logistics, residential and life sciences, notes Arnaud Malbos, Senior Vice President, Investments, Europe, at Ivanhoé Cambridge. “In real estate, the country is considered a veritable global laboratory in terms of environmental and energy performance due to its ambitious and innovative regulations.”

Real estate is a genuine source of value creation for France, says Mr. Malbos. “It represents 11.2% of France’s GDP, which makes it the biggest industrial sector in the French economy, ahead of health care, chemicals and automobiles,” he says. “The volume of transactions in commercial real estate has totalled over EUR 135 billion in France in five years, placing the country third in the European market behind the United Kingdom and Germany.”

Challenges that bring promising investment opportunities

Vivian and Arnaud agree that the impacts of climate change and the energy transition underlying them remain key challenges to monitor as investors in France.

However, these challenges present interesting opportunities. The ability to combine financial and environmental performance will be increasingly important for the organization, which will have a direct impact on the investments needed to achieve carbon neutrality and ensure the resilience of infrastructure and buildings in light of climate change. 

CDPQ in France

5 main sectors:

  • Industrials and transportation
  • Real estate
  • Health care
  • Finance
  • IT and telecommunications

Paris office:

  • 20 CDPQ employees specialized in infrastructure
  • 33 Ivanhoé Cambridge employees

$23 billion

in assets in France


of the total portfolio in 2022

Tours DUO

Tours DUO

  • Two towers measuring 180 metres and 122 metres, respectively, totalling 100,000 m2 of offices and retail, as well as a hotel, in Paris’s 13th arrondissement
  • Certified Effinergie+, HQE Exceptionnel, LEED Platinum, WiredScore Or, WELL Platinum and Climate Bond Standard
  • Delivered to Groupe BPCE at the end of 2021