AUSTRIA - The Austrian branch of technology giant Siemens has sold its company pension fund to the Valida Group.

Rumours about the possible sale of the €845m in assets - both in the Siemens Pensionskasse and the Siemens Vorsorgekasse for severance pay assets - had been circulating in the local media for some time.

In a public tender, the Valida Group, managing €4.7bn in pension and severance pay assets, has now finalised the purchase of the Siemens funds.

With the deal - which Austrian regulators must still approve - the Valida Pensionskasse will grow from €3.76bn to €4.44bn based on year-end 2011 figures for both funds.

The Valida Plus severance pay funds will grow from just over €1bn to €1.12bn.

In a statement, Siemens said a “distinctly changed legal framework” and a “dynamic market environment” had led to its decision to offload the Pensionskasse, founded in 1998.

Austria’s parliament recently agreed on a reform package for local pension funds that increased the administrative burden for Pensionskassen considerably.

Under the terms of the latest deal, the Siemens Pensionskasse and the Vorsorsorgekasse will remain independent legal entities under the Valida holding for several years.
A spokesperson at Valida told IPE that all staff would be taken on and that Stefan Eberhartinger would remain as board member at the Siemens fund.

The parties expect to close the deal - which also includes the Siemens consultancy SIELOG Systemlogistik - some time this autumn.

For Valida, the acquisition marks the third major takeover of an Austrian company pension fund over the last two years.
A few weeks ago, Shell Austria announced a transfer of its 850 members and around €255m in assets to Valida as per 2013.

In 2010, Unilever Austria transferred €250m in pension assets to the group, which was then still named ÖPAG.

The deal is also a further step in Siemens’ business consolidation plan, which saw its asset manager Innovest being sold to Macquarie two years ago.