The acquisition, made jointly with Canada’s Omers Infrastructure, is part of ABP’s tightened policy to invest more ‘with impact’ in the Netherlands.
Pension fund ABP, through its a APG, is acquiring Dutch company Kenter. It is making the acquisition together with Canadian pension investor Omers Infrastructure.
Kenter is a subsidiary of network company Alliander, and deals with energy management, among other things. ABP and Omer will both get a 50% stake. Further financial details have not been disclosed.
Kenter has annual revenues of around €100m, and ABP’s investment amount to “several hundred millions”, said Jan Willem Ruisbroek, who is responsible for APG’s investments in infrastructure worldwide. According to an anonymous source to Reuters news agency, this transaction values Kenter at nearly €700m (including debt).
It is the second joint investment by ABP and Omers in the Dutch energy sector. Last year, they bought Groendus, which helps companies in the energy transition.
The investment is part of ABP’s tightened policy to invest more ‘with impact’ in the Netherlands. “We have a social responsibility to invest the money we have during the pension accrual phase not only far away, in financially complicated products, but also here in the Netherlands. Kenter is an example of that,” said Harmen van Wijnen, chairman of ABP’s executive board in conversation with FD.
Alliander put Kenter up for sale at the end of December. The sale was motivated by restrictive laws and regulations that Alliander has to deal with as a public network company. Kenter supplies innovative solutions for energy measurement and management. The company installs meters, supplies measurement data and provides insight into energy consumption with online analyses.
Last year, network operator Enexis sold a similar subsidiary to pension investor PGGM and investor DIF Capital Partners for the same reason.
Pension investors like to invest in infrastructure and related activities because of the stable long-term cash flows. Direct investment in grid managers like Alliander and Enexis is not possible because these companies are publicly owned. Therefore, pension funds like ABP and PGGM look for companies and investments in the ‘front and back’ of electricity grids, such as charging stations and batteries.
ABP is also, together with wind farm developer SSE Renewables, initiator of Noordzeker, a wind farm to be built off the cost That is a wind farm to be built off the coast of IJmuiden.
Van Wijnen says the green investments have the same return requirements as other pension fund investments. “It starts with a good return. It’s ultimately about euros per month. With all investments, we look at cost, return and sustainability. Impact investing does not detract from that. This deal has the same requirements as our other investments.”
This article originally appeared in Dutch business newspaper FD, on 3 July 2023