The DKK10bn (€1.3bn) crisis fund set up by the Danish government to recapitalise big companies struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic opened for investment applications yesterday, with the head of PensionDanmark in place as its chair.

The Danish Recovery Fund (Danmarks Genopretningsfond) announced in a statement that it was now ready to receive applications for capital contributions, with the virus outbreak having led to financial challenges for many firms in the country.

Established as a 100% state-owned joint stock company under the Ministry of Finance, the recovery fund said it can only invest in preference shares – equity without voting rights – of larger Danish companies hit by the pandemic.

A broad political majority in parliament had approved its establishment, the fund said, with the EU Commission having given the necessary state aid approval at the end of November.

Torben Möger Pedersen, chief executive officer of labour-market pension fund PensionDanmark, has been appointed as chair of the fund – a role he will hold alongside his current job at the pension fund – with the supervisory board line up having been revealed just before Christmas in the fund’s official company registration.

Among the fund’s four other board members to be appointed is Carsten Stendevad, the former CEO of ATP, who is currently senior advisor at Bridgewater Associates in Washington, DC.

Marianne Philip, lawyer and partner at Kromann Reumert, has been appointed as vice chair of the fund, and the other two board members are Philipp Schröder, professor in the economics department of Aarhus University, and Jørgen Rugholm Jensen, former partner at McKinsey.

Möger Pedersen said: “With a broad political majority behind the fund, and scope of up to DKK10bn, a good basis has been secured for the Recovery Fund’s ability to contribute to helping larger, socially-critical Danish companies through the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and so preserve skills, market shares, jobs and values that otherwise risk being lost.”

The fund’s supervisory and executive boards are responsible for its strategic and day-to-day management, with the board deciding which companies can receive capital contributions, the fund said in the statement, adding that this ensured “arm’s length” between the state and the fund.

“It is expected that the fund will make its investments during 2021 and be dissolved in mid-2023,” it said.

As planned, the Danish Recovery Fund has formed an agreement with an administration company set up by ATP to provide day-to-day operations, saying there would be “Chinese walls” between the management company and ATP.

The fund also said it had started the process of hiring a managing director.

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