Dutch pension fund acquires Norwegian hydropower operator

European asset manager Aquila Capital has completed its acquisition of Norwegian hydroelectric project operator Norsk Gronnkraft AS on behalf of the Dutch General Pension Fund for Public Employees (ABP) and German insurance companies.

Norsk Gronnkraft — previously owned by Akershus Energi, Energiselskapet Buskerue, E-CO and Ostfold Energi — operates 33 small hydropower plants in central and southern Norway. The plants combine to generate about 210 GWh of energy per year and have an average age of eight years.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“This is one of the largest acquisitions of a small-scale Norwegian operator and shows how Aquila Capital has established a hydropower platform of scale in Norway since the first investment there in 2011,” said Oldrik Verloop, co-head of hydropower for the Hamburg-based company. “We aim to increase our production volume in Norway during the next five years to over 1,000 GWh.”

HydroWorld.com reported Aquila Capital had closed on a similar investment on behalf of ABP and APG Asset Management this past November, which gave the group a 33% share in Norway’s Tinfos AS.

“ABP is pleased with this second investment in hydropower infrastructure within six months after the start of the partnership between APG Asset Management and Aquila Capital,” ABP said in a release. “Through APG, ABP has committed US$294 million of equity to the venture to contribute to a significant expansion of its investments in sustainable energy generation within the next few years. We believe such an expansion is necessary as well as feasible, as is demonstrated by this latest investment.”

Aquila previously expressed an interest in buying shares of Turkish infrastructure developer Afken Holding’s hydropower unit, Akfenhes, in March 2012, which followed the acquisition of 33% of Norway’s Jorpeland Kraft AS in June 2011.

“Aquila Capital clients currently have a share in more than 50 hydropower generating facilities in Norway and Turkey,” Verloop said. “We are actively looking at further opportunities across Europe and expect to be making more investments in the course of 2015.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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