Germany’s Talanx Invests in Renewable Energy to Counter Low Interest Rates

By | September 16, 2015

Talanx AG, the German insurance company buying into its first offshore wind farm, said it’s likely to purchase more renewable-energy assets.

The insurer sees renewables as offering “long-term, bigger yields than from assets such as state bonds,” Chief Financial Officer Immo Querner said in an interview in Berlin. “Risks can be mastered.”

With central banks keeping interest rates at historic lows, investors are looking for higher yields from other assets including renewable energy projects. Talanx is Germany’s third- biggest insurer and is leading a group of institutional investors buying into a 330-megawatt offshore wind park.

Earlier this month, Talanx said it would buy bonds issued by Global Infrastructure Partners to help pay for a 50 percent stake in the Gode Wind 1 offshore project being built by Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S. Dong is keeping the other half of the project and will handle maintenance of the facility in Germany’s part of the North Sea.

Talanx may increase its investments in infrastructure to 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) mid-term, taking potential stakes in grids, roads and clean-energy technology, said Querner.

German insurers hold 1.4 trillion euros in investments, of which just 1 percent is linked to renewable energy and other infrastructure assets, according to the GDV insurer trade group, which is lobbying government to improve investment conditions.

Basel III bank rules and Solvency II insurer rules are pushing the industry to seek short- and longer-term investments respectively, Thomas Mann, Talanx Asset Management’s chief investment officer, said in the same interview.

Renewable energy developers are generally pleased to get capital from insurers since both have longer-term investment horizons, Mann said.

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