The asset management arm of insurer Aflac is investing $2.1bn (€1.78bn) in Denham Capital’s sustainable infrastructure unit to help expand the business.

As part of the deal, Aflac Global Investments will also hold a 24.9% stake in Denham Sustainable Infrastructure.

Aflac Global Investments has made a $2bn commitment to Denham Sustainable Infrastructure to help launch a new debt platform and has backed Denham’s second dedicated equity fund with a $100m commitment.

The debt platform will target investment-grade and below-investment-grade sustainable infrastructure investments, with an initial focus on developed markets, including North and South America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Denham Sustainable Infrastructure’s equity fund will target mid-market companies, with the majority of investments expected to be in renewable power and energy storage in both developed and developing markets.

Eric M Kirsch, Aflac executive vice president, global CIO and president of Aflac Global Investments, said: “Part of Aflac Global Investments’ long-term growth strategy is to identify and partner with successful third-party managers like Denham, which has a track record and is a leading asset manager of infrastructure assets.

“The nature of these asset classes will enable us to capture higher yields while providing enhanced credit protection, adding value to our portfolio and to our stakeholders, while advancing our ESG priorities.”

Stu Porter, founder, managing partner, CEO and CIO of Denham Capital, said: “The partnership with Aflac will trigger the rapid growth of our Sustainable Infrastructure platform, enabling Denham to play a pivotal role in accelerating the transition toward an electrified, clean economy.

“Global demand for assets which fulfil ESG objectives has significantly bolstered the need for investing in sustainable infrastructure, and as such, we expect energy transition initiatives and investment into sustainable infrastructure to increase materially well into the future.

“Our expanded Sustainable Infrastructure strategy will focus on markets where we see the biggest growth opportunity, and we believe we can make the biggest positive impact. Denham looks forward to partnering with Aflac as we seek to address climate change with capital, infrastructure and technology.”

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