GERMANY - Several German Versorgungswerke have joined a consortium to buy shares in high-voltage grid operator Amprion from energy giant RWE.

RWE is now the third large German energy company to sell off part of its power grid operator. It said it made the move as part of a shift in focus on its core business.

The 74.9% share in Amprion, with a company value of around €1.3bn, was bought by a group headed by Commerz Real, which also includes subsidiaries of Munich Re, Talanx and Swiss Life, as well as the Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe (ÄVWL), which in turn represents other German Versorgungswerke.

The €8bn ÄVWL is invested in the fund launched by Commerz Real - also on behalf of the €2.3bn dentist fund in Westfalen Lippe (ZVWL), the €206m vet fund in the same region in Northwest Germany (Versorgungswerk der Tierärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe) and the €940m Ärzteversorgung Land Brandenburg (ÄVLB).

In a statement, the Versorgungswerk said the investment would "support the change in the government's energy policy".

After the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the German coalition government decided to phase out all nuclear power plants in the coming years, invest in renewable energy and extend national and international power grids. 

The ÄVWL said investment fit its investment strategy "very well", as it includes investments in infrastructure relevant to the system and offers a hedge against inflation.

The Versorgungswerk, which adopted a governance code in mid-July to increase transparency, said it expected the investment to provide stable long-term returns.