EUROPE - Robeco has taken a 64% stake in Swiss-based SRI firm Sustainable Asset Management for an undisclosed sum.

"The strategic co-operation between Robeco and SAM Group will open new business opportunities and generate promising growth potential for the combined group," the two said in a statement. SAM's management and employees hold 36%.

Zurich-based SAM has CHF3.6bn (€2.25bn) in assets under management and CHF6.4bn under advice. It focuses on topics such as water and "smart energy". The management would remain the same, under founder and chief executive Reto Ringger.

They said the joint offering "will be geared at both retail and private investors as well as sophisticated institutional parties like public pension funds".

"We are confident that sustainability investing will become a dominant theme in asset management and will increase further in importance," said Robeco chief executive George Möller.

"Climate change, smart energy technologies and the depletion of scarce resources are a firm fixture on the international agenda and offer very attractive investment opportunities.

"Demand is growing for this area from our international investor bases and we see excellent opportunities to provide an innovative range of funds to benefit our clients. SAM Group is the leading investment manager in this area."

SAM's board will now comprise Robeco's Möller and Sander van Eijkern as well as Albert Gnägi and Ringger.