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Canada's Ontario Teachers' fund plans Indian investment drive

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of an India Rupee note

By Abhirup Roy and M. Sriram

MUMBAI (Reuters) -India will account for 5-10% of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's (OTPP) assets in the next 15-20 years, as the Canadian fund looks to expand investments in areas such as infrastructure, healthcare and renewables, its CEO told Reuters on Tuesday.

OTPP's current exposure to India is less than 2% of its $240 billion in assets globally.

"Our exposure to India will be a very significant part of the balance sheet," Chief Executive Jo Taylor said in an interview in India's financial capital Mumbai.

The fund opened an Indian office in May - its third in the Asia-Pacific region after Singapore and Hong Kong - and plans to hire 10 people by the end of the year.

While global funds and companies have invested billions of dollars in recent years in Indian startups and digital companies that have grown rapidly, Taylor signalled OTPP would take a different approach.

"I think where we will probably be of most value to India is actually being able to ... help with a lot of the infrastructure build out that India is looking to do," he said.

OTPP will also focus on sectors like healthcare and renewables, Taylor said, expanding on recent investments the fund has made in the country.

Although OTPP first bet on an Indian company in 2016 via Alibaba-backed online retailer Snapdeal, it has made most of its Indian investments in the past year - including $300 million each in conglomerate Mahindra's renewable energy assets and a buyout of hospital chain Sahyadri.

Taylor said that while assets in India were more richly valued than in some other countries, expectations of faster growth made them more desirable.

"What is interesting and attractive about India is that there is a pretty strong retail market looking for IPO opportunities and that's a big asset for the country," he said.

($1 = 81.3400 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy and Sriram Mani in Mumbai; writing by Tanvi Mehta in New Delhi; Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter)