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Sustainalytics declines comment on reported merger talks with Korea’s Sustinvest

Possible closer ties with partner firm?

Sustainalytics, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) research firm that is backed by Dutch institutions PGGM, ABN Amro and Triodos, has declined to comment on a report that it is in talks to merge with South Korea-based partner firm Sustinvest.

The Korea Herald quoted Sustinvest’s Chief Executive and Founder Ryu Young-jae as saying the firm is in talks with Sustainalytics over a potential deal that would see it become the larger firm’s Korean operation.

“We are strategically contemplating the matter, and being a part of Sustainalytics and becoming its regional player,” Ryu was quoted as saying. There was no indication of the terms of any potential merger arrangement.

Diederik Timmer, Sustainalytics’ European Managing Director and Global Director of Institutional Relations, declined to comment to Responsible Investor.

Sustainalytics signed a partnership with Sustinvest, the leading Korean ESG firm and whose largest client is theKRW1.2trn (€84bn) National Pension Service, in September 2011.

At the time they said they would explore “new products and services for the Korean market”, including an ESG ranking of Korean companies.

“We are strategically contemplating the matter”

Sustinvest is known for its ESGValue model which evaluates listed Korean firms.

If a formal merger with Sustinvest were to take place, it would follow Sustainalytics’ acquisition in June last year of Responsible Research, the Singapore-based ESG firm.

In September last year the firm announced a partnership with Beijing-based sustainability consulting firm SynTao. It also has a deal with index provider STOXX on ESG indices.