Best Real Assets & Infrastructure Investor of the Year. With this prestigious IPE Global Award, APG outshone no fewer than twenty other large institutional investors across the world this month.
“We are incredibly proud of this. IPE is an independent, impartial organization, one that has a good reputation in the marketplace. So this Global Award means a lot to us,” Jan-Willem Ruisbroek, head of investment strategy in infrastructure at APG, tells us. “The entire team won this award – forty infrastructure specialists at our New York, Hong Kong and Amsterdam offices.” What was the jury’s opinion on APG’s strategy for Real Assets & Infrastructure? Ruisbroek reads from the jury’s report: “A mature strategy in sustainable infrastructure, rewarded with solid returns. APG’s reference to megatrends is innovative and has guided investment decisions well.’
APG’s Infrastructure team does not invest in stocks or bonds. Instead, it invests in companies that are not listed on the stock exchange, with the aim of achieving long-term, stable returns. Its portfolio is quite broad: from transport (airports, toll roads, harbors, trains, railways) and telecom (transmission masts, fiber optic cables) to energy generation, for instance wind and solar farms and transporting energy. Out of the total invested assets of 567 billion euros, APG has invested around twenty billion euros in infrastructure.
Contribution to welfare
The emphasis in this is increasingly on improving sustainability or supporting the transition to a climate-neutral energy supply, Ruisbroek recounts. “Our aim is not only to achieve solid investment returns for our pension fund clients, but also to produce tangible benefits that contribute to the well-being of the public. As an example, we have proven to the IPE jury that we invest a lot in wind and solar farms that have yet to be built; we consciously take more risk with this than with a comparable investment in existing infrastructure. We can do this because we have the knowledge and expertise in house, so we are in a position to assess the risks properly.” The returns on this kind of “entrepreneurial investment” are higher, relatively speaking. An example of this is APG’s investment in a wind turbine project in Oostflakkee, which Kallista Energy, a French renewable energy producer, has since built.
Another trend that APG is responding to with its investments is digitization. Ruisbroek elaborates: “Future generations will be using more and more data. That is why we launched a joint venture together with KPN, for the large-scale rolling out of fiber optic connections in the Netherlands. By replacing the old copper network with high-speed internet connections using fiber optic cable, KPN can offer its consumers as well as businesses better support for their digital operations.”
On the picture: Jan-Willems colleague Robert Jan Foortse, who accepted the award.