The €238bn asset manager PGGM said it was disappointed about the rejection of its joint bid with Shell for the Dutch energy supplier Eneco.

In a response, its spokesperson said it was “a real pity, as this kind of large investments in local energy transition were scarce”.

Eneco’s stakeholders – 44 local councils, including Rotterdam and The Hague – decided to sell the company for €4.1bn to Mitsubishi and Chubu Electric Power.

“In our opinion, we had made an attractive offer, both financially and for the firm’s sustainable future,” the spokesperson said.

The acquisition would have enabled the asset manager to substantially invest in energy transition in the Netherlands.

Rabobank had also been in the race in a partnership with private equity house KKR.

Earlier this year, the €529bn Dutch asset manager APG declined to confirm it was interested in the acquisition of Eneco, after local daily De Telegraaf had reported that APG had teamed up with French energy firm Total or the Italian Enel.

PGGM stated that losing the deal would not affect its sustainability goals, as it could in principle make acquisitions for its infrastructure fund all over Europe and North America.

“But we will be actively looking for new possibilities in the Netherlands,” its spokesperson added.

Following this, an investor pressure group aiming for a sustainable approach by fossil fuel companies – comprising asset managers Actiam, Aegon, Achmea, Van Lanschot Kempen, MN and NN IP – have been urging Shell to stick to the Paris Climate Agreement since 2016.

Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, a group of responsible shareholders in oil and gas companies, said that by losing the deal PGGM would be able to encourage Shell to step up its energy transition commitment through climate resolutions at Shell’s AGM.

However, the PGGM spokesperson said the co-operation with Shell in the Eneco bid had strengthened the asset manager’s belief that the energy giant was already taking the right steps towards sustainability.