BVK, the Pensionskasse for the Swiss canton of Zurich, has acquired a 15.7% stake in electricity transmission grid operator Swissgrid.

The pension fund, one of the largest in Switzerland, completed the transaction indirectly by taking over a 49.9% stake in Axpo Volt Beteiligung, a subsidiary of Swiss renewable energy group Axpo Holding.

Axpo, via Axpo Beteiligung, has a 31.37% stake in Swissgrid. The company continues to hold a 50.1% majority stake in Axpo Volt Beteiligung, therefore fully controlling Swissgrid, it said.

BVK’s chief executive officer Thomas Schönbächler said: “With this investment, we are combining our goal of long-term and sustainable performance with the inherently long-term nature of Swiss energy infrastructure.”

Axpo Group’s chief financial officer Joris Gröflin added: “With this transaction, Axpo is further strengthening its solid financial base and enhancing its financial flexibility. This will allow us to reinforce our strategic pillars, especially the planned expansion of wind and solar in Switzerland, while also reducing our net debt.”

BVK reviewed its long-term strategy in 2021, increasing allocations in equities, global real estate and infrastructure. The review will result in exits from allocations in some alternative investments such as commodities, including crude oil, zinc and copper, as it shifts towards renewable energies.

Expanding holdings in energy infrastructure, and in particular renewable energies, has been an essential element of the strategic direction of BVK for several years, leading to further diversifying its investment portfolio, it said.

According to the latest monthly financial statement, BVK has a funding ratio of 100%, recovering from 97.1% underfunding that it recorded at the end of 2022, and returning year-to-date 3.1%, compared with -11.2% at the end of last year.

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