Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lakeview hotel trust switches to corporation

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LAKEVIEW Hotel REIT has been converted to a corporation.

Lakeview Hotel Investment Corp. (LHIC) now owns and operates the businesses, which were previously owned and operated by Lakeview REIT.

The restructuring took effect just before midnight Dec. 31, 2012, allowing the restructuring to get in just before the deadline of federal laws that allow such conversion to take place without negative tax implications.

The move received shareholder approval Dec. 6 and court approval a week later.

Units of Lakeview REIT will be transferred to LHIC on the basis of one LHIC share for each unit transferred.

All warrants and options and outstanding debentures and other debt obligations will be assumed by the new corporation.

The REIT's board of trustees -- Keith Levit, Gary Coleman and Jerry Rubin -- will become the board of directors of the new corporation and it will be managed by the same executive team led by Levit as the chief executive officer.

The restructuring took place because new federal tax rules mean the comparative income tax advantage of the income trust structure over a corporate structure was eliminated.

In November another Winnipeg-based hotel REIT, Temple Real Estate Investment Trust converted from a trust to a corporation called Temple Hotels Inc.

Lakeview REIT's board of trustees supported the conversion and, according to the company shareholders "overwhelmingly" endorsed it.

The company owns 18 hotels, including:

-- The Lakeview Inn & Suites, located in Fredericton, N.B., which was the company's initial property;

-- The 91-room Best Western Black Gold Inn in Drayton Valley, Alta., which was acquired in 2005;

-- The 55-room Ramada Limited in Hinton, Alta., also acquired in 2005. (Both the Drayton Valley and Hinton properties have been converted to Lakeview Inns & Suites hotels.)

Eight properties were acquired in 2006, including:

-- The 64-room Best Western in Okotoks, Alta.;

-- The 70-room Best Western in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.;

-- The 85-room Super 8 in Vaughan, Ont.;

-- The 45-room Super 8 in Edson, Alta.;

-- The 90-room Holiday Inn Express in Sherwood Park, Alta.;

-- The 50-room Ramada Limited in Whitecourt, Alta.;

-- The 73-room Ramada Limited and the Fogg n' Suds restaurant in Fort St. John, B.C.;

-- The 59-room Days Inn in Chetwynd, B.C. (All but the Vaughan and Sherwood Park properties are now operating as Lakeview Inns & Suites properies.)

Five properties were acquired in 2007, including:

-- The 82-room Lakeview Inn & Suites in Fort Nelson, B.C.;

-- The 69 room Lakeview Inn & Suites in Edson, Alta.;

-- The 78-room Holiday Inn Express in Brooks, Alta.;

-- The 120-room Fairfield by Marriot in Calgary;

-- The 68-room Best Western in Slave Lake, Alta. (All five properties are now operating as Lakeview Inns & Suites hotels.)

Two properties were acquireed in 2008, including:

-- The 75-room Four Points by Sheraton in Prince George, B.C.; and

-- The 81-room Days Inn Ottawa Airport.

The company has not acquired any new properties since 2008.

Levit family holdings will continue to hold 57.9 per cent of the shares of Lakeview Hotel Investment Corp.

In addition to its equity holdings, the Levit family-owned Lakeview Management Inc. receives asset-management and property-management fees from LHIC.

Another Levit family privately owned business, Lakeview Hotels and Resorts, owns and manages another 24 hotels including the just-acquired Lakeview Hecla Resort and Golf Course.

Trading in the shares of Lakeview Hotel Investment Corp. is expected to start today on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol LHR.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 B4

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