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We do not intend to buy Eneco with a load of debt and then strip it.

Printed below is an English translation of an article published today by the Dutch Financial Times, Financieele Dagblad.


‘Shell must become a greener company? Well, here we are’

Maarten Wetselaar (l) and Frank Roeters of Lennep: ‘We do not intend to buy Eneco with a load of debt and then strip it.’ Photo: Peter Boer

Bert van DijkMartine Wolzak

Eneco does not have to worry about losing its sustainable character when it comes to selling to Shell and pension provider PGGM. That is what the two potential buyers of the Dutch energy company say to the FD. Some of the shareholders and staff are afraid that a sale will put an end to Eneco’s sustainable strategy.

The meeting with Maarten Wetselaar, director Integrated Gas & New Energies at Shell and PGGM investor Frank Roeters of Lennep, responsible for private markets at the pension provider, takes place in the Amsterdam office of Shell with a view of the IJ. In the background a ferry sails past painted with the advertising slogan ‘Xs4all 25 years’.

How do you guarantee that Eneco does not have the same fate as the rebellious internet company that was incorporated by KPN and is going to disappear?

‘You are not going to buy this company to turn the sustainable strategy around,’ says Wetselaar of Shell. “That is a very cynical view. We see this investment as a platform for further growth. As Shell we now have a renewable energy business that is almost as big as Eneco and we will continue to grow in the coming years. Yes, it is sometimes said: “you must become a greener company”. Well, here we are. We hope it will be welcomed. ”

Van Lennep: the fact that we are equal with two shareholders, that we underline the importance of the strategy and the name – we pay for that – indicates that we are here for the long term ”

Wetselaar: ‘We do not have another company, PGGM, either, where we could join Eneco together and realize major synergy benefits.’

Why are you interested in Eneco?

Van Lennep: ‘We would like to invest in the energy transition in the Netherlands. But so many opportunities to do that do not come to pass. This is a unique opportunity. We have contacted Shell, because we think we complement each other well. Eneco is much too big for us. We do not have the specialist knowledge either. ‘

Wetselaar: ‘Eneco is almost model for what we want to achieve with our renewable energy division. So when it became clear that Eneco would be available, we started looking at it. We have spoken with various partners, but PGGM is large in heating networks, which we still know little about. Moreover PGGM is a party that really wants to be in the long term. We are not planning to buy Eneco with a cargo debt and then stripping it. It is a long-term source of income. Pensions and dividends must still be paid. ‘

What are your plans with Eneco?

Wetselaar: ‘We want to keep Eneco together and let it grow. Geographically focused on northwest Europe. ‘

Van Lennep: ‘Capital is available to connect new districts to the district heating networks in the Netherlands, a concern of the shareholders (53 Dutch municipalities, ed.). But also for new investments that are added to the portfolio. ‘

Two Dutch parties, including a pension fund that want to invest in sustainable energy: do you think you should be given an edge when selling?

Van Lennep: ‘Sales people simply have to choose the deal that is best for them (..) There are undoubtedly more parties, both strategic and financial, with interest, but we think we can distinguish ourselves as a combination.’

Wetselaar: ‘I do not think we are looking for a dash for it. We must have self-confidence: we are two financially very stable long-term investors with Dutch roots who endorse the sustainable strategy and who want to grow this business. Then we do not need a push.”


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