PHL is ‘most important’ for Norway’s $3.5-B fund

UNSPLASH

NORFUND, an investment fund based in Norway, is looking at investing in renewable energy projects in the Philippines, which it now considers its “most important market” because of the country’s impact on improving climate initiatives.

“The total size of the fund by the end of last year was probably around $3.5 billion, so that is the total value, but as to how much is allotted for the Philippines, we don’t know yet. It all comes down [to] the number of projects we have here,” Inge Stølen, senior investment manager for Norfund’s clean energy, said in a chance interview last week.

Norfund is the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries. It invests in clean energy to increase energy access and supply.

In 2020, Norfund sold its investments in SN Power, allowing it to open new deals to reinvest capital in projects that are considered crucial to fighting poverty and reducing carbon emissions. SN Power has existing partnerships in the Philippines.

“From having a hard time arguing to do Philippines, Philippines now — based on the sale of SN Power and the climate funding — this is probably the most important market we have,” Mr. Stølen said during the Norway-Philippines Maritime and Energy Conference last week.

Mr. Stølen told BusinessWorld that Norfund is willing to invest in any type of renewable energy project. “It should [offer] good return for investors,” he said about possible projects.

“If there is a sufficient number of good projects in the country we can invest significant amounts in one market,” Mr. Stølen said.

He said that the factors Norfund is looking at in target markets are how they align with the fund’s goals.

“Another thing that’s important with this mandate is the geography. We’ve basically looked at the markets that we’re in and say which markets will give the most improvement for the climate. And we come up with five countries,” Mr. Stølen said, identifying South Africa, India, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia. — Ashley Erika O. Jose