EUROPE - Denmark's ATP fund is setting up a new DKK1bn (€134m) venture capital fund to provide fresh capital for Danish and other Nordic companies in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

The new fund will have the power to invest as much as DKK150m in a single business, ATP said.

ATP manages the country's labour-market supplementary fund and runs nearly DKK500bn of assets.

Bjarne Graven Larsen, director of funds, said ATP had focused on investment in new, innovative Danish growth companies for several years now.

"Even though the venture capital market has been a difficult environment in which to earn money, we have developed a model that will secure good earnings in the future," he said.

"In the last few years, the venture capital market in Denmark has developed into a more modern market, with much better competencies than ever before."

ATP set up its first venture capital fund - Via Venture Partners Fond I K/S - in 2006.

This first fund is now one of the leading venture capital funds in the Nordic region, ATP said.

It has focused on investments in Nordic growth companies, with Danish businesses as its main emphasis.

Twelve out of the fund's 20 investments have been in Danish IT and telecoms companies, as well as technology-based enterprises in the broader sense.

As with the first fund, the new venture fund - Via Venture Partners Fond II K/S - will have capital of DKK1bn and the ability to invest as much as DKK150m in a single business.

"Our first venture capital fund is fully invested," said Graven Larsen. "So we are putting a new DKK1bn in a venture capital fund, which we hope can give current and future pensioners with ATP a good return on their pension."

So far, Fund I has invested in the whole spectrum of businesses, ranging from very small ones with no turnover to large buyouts, ATP said.

This new fund brings ATP's total venture capital investments in small and medium-sized businesses in Denmark to almost DKK6bn.