Denmark’s largest pension ATP is investing hundreds of millions of kroner in solar energy company Better Energy, buying a 15% stake in the Danish firm, the parties announced this morning.

In a statement, ATP said: “With a triple-digit million Danish kroner investment in the Danish renewable energy company Better Energy, ATP will be making one of the biggest investments of the year.”

The pension fund – which provides Denmark’s statutory labour-market supplementary pension scheme – said the investment contributed to its ambition to strengthen the development of Danish-produced green energy and to contribute to the green transition.

Mikkel Svenstrup, chief investment officer at ATP, said: “The necessary green transition and the European desire to free itself from reliance on Russian natural gas require a significant expansion of renewable energy sources.”

Demand for renewable energy was increasing, he said, especially for onshore solutions, adding that the investment also fulfilled its goal of creating reliable returns for its customers.

The DKK733bn (€99bn) pension fund described Better Energy as one of the fastest-growing suppliers of solar energy in Northern Europe, with a pipeline of over 10GW of large-scale solar parks.

Its current key markets are Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Finland, ATP added.

The renewables firm also took biodiversity into account, the pension fund said, and produced electricity that was cheaper than energy from coal, oil and gas. It said the investment would contribute towards the company’s expansion, as its portfolio of solar parks continued to grow.

Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær, chief executive officer of Better Energy, said ATP was a compatible business partner, providing pensions to the whole country: “During our talks, we have spent a lot of time ensuring that we are a good match.

“We appreciate and believe that we can live up to the great responsibility that comes with 5.5m people in Denmark being co-owners of our solar parks,” he added.

ATP said Better Energy’s strategy of involving of local communities and promoting their values – protecting groundwater, schemes to promote biodiversity and establish recreational areas – had also made the company an attractive investment.

Better Energy made an operating profit of DKK157m in 2021 on revenue of DKK1.5bn, according to its annual report, and had a balance sheet total of DKK1.9bn.

Two years ago, Danish labour-market pension fund Industriens Pension began a plan to invest in new solar parks Better Energy was building in Denmark and Poland. According to ATP, the partnership now owns 21 solar parks in the two countries, with a total acquisition cost of DKK5bn.

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