Denmark’s ATP takes 12% stake in renewable energy specialist Neas

Deal done via private equity group Via Ventures

Denmark’s ATP, one of Europe’s largest labour market funds, has taken a 12% stake in renewable energy specialist Neas Energy, in a deal organised with Nordic private equity fund Via Ventures.

ATP, which serves nearly all Danish citizens and companies, has also provided a loan of DKK250m to Neas Energy, alongside DKK250m in private equity in the consortium with Via Venture Partners, which will take an 18% stake.

Neas Energy operates in all major European energy markets with largest exposure in the Nordic and German power markets. Ulrik Dan Weuder, Deputy Director, Head of Alternative Investments at ATP, told Responsible Investor: “Right now the European energy market is going through radical changes. Emerging renewables and independent producers are creating a new niche of power managers and traders. Neas Energy is a very exciting company which has got critical mass to survive in this space where size matters. It’s an interesting play.

“It’s really fascinating how the energy stream from production sites to grids has to be managed – in the old days this was managed by the national utilities – today the independent producers need a manager for this – this is one of Neas’ key competences. We are very close to Via Ventures who brought the deal to our attention.”He went on: “It made sense to invest debt and equity. Equity gives us insight in the company and market so we know how it is doing. Debt gives us additional exposure in a deal we’ve worked hard on at a lower risk. A hybrid construct works in some instances. And we’ve used it for other deals.”

Neas Energy’s 6.6GW energy portfolio has a number of solar assets in the UK. Last year it signed a 15-year long power purchase agreement with three solar farms in the UK. At the time, Soren Petersen, managing director at Neas Energy said it had high ambitions within balancing and trading of renewable energy in the UK.

Meanwhile, ATP has denied reports that it has boycotted Swedish investment bank Carnegie, which advised it on the flotation of now-defunct Danish shipping company OW Bunker.

The Financial Times reported that ATP has indicated it has reduced or stopped placing trades with Carnegie. But, Henrik Gade Jepsen, chief investment officer of the fund, says: “It would be wrong to announce an official boycott, but we weigh up all factors when we decide which banks we use for trading. I hope that answers your question.” ATP, along with fellow Danish institutional investor, PFA Pension and PensionDenmark, has launched an investigation into whether it is possible to recover losses as a result of the collapse.