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ATP, PFA to invest DKK3bn in controversial DONG Energy deal

first_imgDanish pension funds ATP and PFA are to invest DKK3bn (€402m) in state enterprise DONG Energy, as part of a highly controversial deal to recapitalise the ailing company, which has now split the country’s coalition government.As part of the recapitalisation, funds managed by US banking group Goldman Sachs will put in DKK11bn for an 18% stake in the company.ATP will invest DKK2.2bn for a 4.9% stake, and PFA will take 1.8% for DKK800m.The government’s holding will be reduced to 57.3% from 81%. A Danish parliamentary committee approved the Goldman Sachs investment yesterday.Finance minister Bjarne Corydon said: “It is good DONG Energy now has solid ground under its feet. Today, Parliament has ensured that one or the biggest companies we have here can make massive investment instead of cutting back.”Carsten Stendevad, chief executive at ATP, said it was a great deal for ATP members. “We see a significant upside potential in DONG Energy and have great confidence in the ability of the executive team to deliver on the business case,” he said.ATP looked forward to working with the company and its co-investors on unlocking value, Stendevad said.The deal now depends on the conclusion of final agreements between the parties.Goldman Sachs’s involvement has prompted public and political criticism, and led to demonstrations outside the Danish Parliament. Critics have cited the US bank’s behaviour during the global financial crisis and voiced concerns over the fairness of the investor selection process.Events reached a climax yesterday as Annette Vilhelmsen resigned as chairman of the Socialist People’s Party (SF), and her party withdrew from the ruling Social Democrat-led government coalition.Vilhelmsen said she failed to persuade the government to consider alternatives to the DONG Energy deal or to get her own party to side with the government in approving the deal as it stood.Prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said she would soon announce a new government, but that SF would remain its close collaborator in Parliament.On Saturday, the labour organisations behind four labour-market pension funds — Lærernes Pension, PKA, PBU and PenSam — called on the government to consider a “Danish solution to DONG’s need for new capital”, suggesting the pension funds could themselves provide the money in a joint investment project.However, the Finance Ministry rejected the approach, saying it had not received a serious proposition from the labour organisations’ leaders.“The process has been very structured and everyone has had the opportunity to take part along the way, including the pension funds that have gone to the media today,” the ministry said in a statement.PFA’s chairman Henrik Heideby responded to the furore surrounding the deal, saying the stake it was taking in DONG was only small and that it would not have a place on the company’s board.“Having said that, I would like to emphasise that the process leading to the offer to the Danish state from Goldman Sachs, ATP and PFA has been both fair and professional, from our viewpoint,” he said.DONG Energy’s main focus is deep drilling, but it is also the largest power producer in Denmark. It has built and operates high-profile offshore windfarms off the coasts of Denmark and the UK.last_img read more

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Dutch watchdog orders metal scheme PMT to cut pension rights

first_imgPMT said it would reverse the second discount as soon as its financial position allowed it.At year-end, the metal scheme’s funding was 103.8%, whereas the required minimum coverage was 104.2%.The PMT board based its initial decision to refrain from a rights discount on the pension fund’s coverage of 104.4% at the end of January. The €48bn pension fund PMT will still have to cut pension rights by 0.4% on 1 May, following pressure from the Dutch regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). The DNB disagreed with PMT’s reasoning that the limited funding shortfall at year-end did not justify a corresponding cut in pension rights.The metal scheme initially argued that a second discount – after a 6.3% cut last year – was not in the interest of its participants or pensioners.In its opinion, other measures – such as leaving its contributions at the same level while decreasing the annual pensions accrual – would have improved its coverage ratio sufficiently.last_img read more

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UK roundup: IMA, ABI, True and Fair Campaign, Aon Hewitt

first_imgThe proposed merger of the Investment Management Association (IMA) and the Association of British Insurers’ investment affairs division is to be completed by the end of the month.The merger, which will see the two lobby groups join forces in the investment space, will be chaired by Helena Morrissey, the current chief executive of Newton Asset Management and founder of the 30% Club.Once merged, the industry representative group will be known as The Investment Association.Chief executive of the group and former chief of the IMA Daniel Godfrey said the new organisation would now cover an entire range of investment issues, fully representing the industry and its clients. Otto Thorensen, director general at the ABI, said the merger would create a strong voice for the asset management industry, with insurers remaining a crucial part.However, the merger was not welcomed on all fronts.Gina Miller, founder of the True and Fair Campaign, said creating a giant industry body was not tantamount to improving consumer protection.“The new Investment Association has more power to advance the aims of the self-interested investment industry,” she said.“The IMA and ABI have, to date, shown themselves to be entirely focused on the needs of their members over consumers.“We see no evidence this will end under the new structure or chairman.”In other news, the Northern Powergrid Group Pension Scheme has appointed Aon Hewitt to provide the trustees with investment advice.The mandate covers advice on the pension fund’s £1.3bn (€1.6bn) of assets, providing pensions to around 6,500 members.The contract for asset allocation and manager selection is an extension of pension scheme administration and actuarial services agreements.Group administrator and secretary for Northern Powergrid Group, Stephen Robson, said the trustees were impressed with Aon Hewitt’s focus on understanding the scheme’s issues and ability to give clear, tailored advice.last_img read more

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ABP appoints chair following abrupt departure of Henk Brouwer

first_imgCorien Wortmann-Kool, a former Christian Democrat politician, is to become the chair of ABP from 1 January, the fund has confirmed. Wortmann-Kool, who served as an MEP for 10 years until July this year, was chosen for her extensive network in Brussels and knowledge of the financial sector, according to the €334bn pension fund.ABP vice-chairman José Meijer said Wortmann-Kool offered an ideal combination of knowledge and experience.Wortmann-Kool emphasised her desire for “good and honest communication with members” and advocated clarity of communication about certainties and uncertainties, in order that members know what they can expect. “Trust in pension funds has fallen in recent years,” she said.“For future years, there are many changes in the pipeline, which may increase insecurity among members.”Wortmann-Kool was an MEP for 10 years until July 2014 before stepping down ahead of the European Parliament elections and served as legislative spokesperson for the financial sector for the European People’s Party. From 2009, she was the Dutch representative on the ECON committee, which oversees the IORP Directive, and also deputy chair of the EVP grouping.Wortmann-Kool succeeds Henk Brouwer, who unexpectedly departed as ABP chair in May 2014 after three years in the post and a year and a half before his term was due to expire. Two vice-chairs, Cees de Veer and José Meijer, have chaired the board in the interim.ABP’s board has 12 members, with paritarian membership divided between employer and employee representatives, but Wortmann-Kool will act independently.last_img read more

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​LAPFF claims IFRS 9 adviser misapplied EU law

first_imgHe goes on to argue that IFRS 9 now has so many question marks hanging over it that it has become a lame duck standard – even before its introduction.Cllr Quinn warned that defects in the IFRS 9 endorsement process leave both the European Commission and the UK regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, open to the threat of legal action from investors.The IASB launched its bid to replace its existing financial instruments accounting standard, IAS 39, in 2009.Critics of IAS 39, the standard it replaces, argue that its incurred-loss impairment model has caused banks to recognise losses too late.Although the IFRS 9 project started out life as a joint effort with the US FASB, the US standard setter largely walked away from the effort.That move on the part of the FASB has complicated the IASB’s bid to become the world’s single global accounting standard setter.In a further twist, critics of the IFRS 9 have jumped on the fact the FASB has adopted a more forward-looking model that requires banks to recognise full upfront lifetime losses.Meanwhile, the LAPFF, together with a growing investor coalition, has turned into a vocal critic of the IASB’s efforts.The LAPFF is an umbrella body for some 65 UK public sector pension fund members, with approximately €235bn in total assets under management.In June 2013, the LAPFF, Threadneedle Investment and USS Investment Management released a legal Opinion from George Bompas QC.This move emboldened those investors who believe IFRS puts too little focus on protecting the interests of capital providers as required under UK company law.That row was reignited earlier this month when the LAPFF sought a second Opinion from Mr Bompas, who again concluded that company accounts prepared using IFRS fail to provide a true and fair view of its financial position.Nor, he added, do they allow companies to assess how much of their profit each year is available for distribution to shareholders.The FRC, however, has long rejected these claims, dismissing them as “misconceived”.Instead, it has urged investors to engage with the IASB’s conceptual framework project and the debate over the role of prudence in accounting.Central to the LAPFF position set out in its 23 September letter is the claim by EFRAG in its endorsement advice to the Commission that IFRS 9 is “not contrary to the principle of [sic] ‘true and fair view’ set out in Article 4(3) of Council Directive 2013/34/EU”.The LAPFF position is that the IAS Regulation, which is the legal basis for the adoption of accounting standards within the EU, in fact uses quite different words that carry another meaning entirely.The LAPFF wrote: “[W]hat Article 4(3) of the said Council Directive actually says is ‘The annual financial statements shall give a true and fair view of the undertaking’s assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss.’”The Directive continues, the LAPFF noted: “Where the application of this Directive would not be sufficient to give a true and fair view of the undertaking’s assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss, such additional information as is necessary to comply with that requirement shall be given in the notes to the financial statements’.”The LAPFF concluded: “The Directive and Regulation is clear that the principle at stake is a true and fair view of the specified numbers and [that] disclosure backs up the correct numbers.“This matters because there is a big difference between disclosure needed to back up correct numbers, and disclosure compensating for the wrong numbers.”Alongside those requirements, the Directive and the IAS Regulation also set out the IFRS endorsement criteria.The regulation requires that an IFRS be “not contrary to the principle set out in Article 4(3) of Council Directive 2013/34/EU and … conducive to the European public good”.In addition, each IFRS must “meet the criteria of understandability, relevance, reliability and comparability required of the financial information needed for making economic decisions and assessing the stewardship of management”.In the past, MEPs have highlighted the potential scope for a conflict of interest within Europe’s accounting institutions.In a statement last year, former ECON Committee chairman Sharon Bowles warned that funding for the IFRS Foundation had strings attached.“My parliamentary colleagues have done a great job in highlighting the much-needed reform of these accounting quangos, which will improve public confidence in how accounting standards are implemented in Europe,” she said.“We have, for the first time, shone a light on how bodies such as the IFRS Foundation and EFRAG are constituted and governed, which has not made for pretty reading.“Any potential conflicts of interest have to be weeded out, and, if they are not, then the Parliament has shown it has the power to withhold funding, which sends a powerful message.” The UK Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has upped the stakes in its bid to persuade the European Union to block the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standard 9, Financial Instruments (IFRS 9) across the bloc.From 1 January 2018, IFRS 9 will become the new accounting rule that EU banks will have to follow as the basis for their reporting.In a strongly worded letter to the EU commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services, Jonathan Hill, LAPFF chairman councillor Keiran Quinn has now accused the EU’s advisory body on technical accounting matters of having misunderstood European law.Cllr Quinn writes: “[W]e do not believe EFRAG should have progressed to final endorsement advice without a revised draft of its endorsement advice.”last_img read more

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The new reno: Luxe home extensions at bargain prices

first_img Seymour family buys $7.75m riverfront house Black Fly Pty Ltd’s latest shipping containers are gaining popularity due to the Hamptons style designs. Photo: SuppliedAs the sale of innovative Hamptons style shipping containers rises, affordability is still the key to buyers wanting the ‘plug and go’ products.Black Fly Pty general manager John Hannan said that instead of spending $50,000 to $60,000 on a home renovation, Mr Hannan said buyers could achieve the same outcome with a Hamptons style container.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours agoMr Hannan said one of his latest styles featured imported timber tiles cut out from a 100-year-old boat from Italy. Black Fly decks out the container totally. Photo: Supplied“We provide everything for our customers, we deck it out as to how they want,” Mr Hannan said.“We do kitchens and bathrooms — we make it as easy as possible.”As standard with all the containers the build is fully insulated, comes with lights, power points, a safety switch and reverse cycle aircon units.While David Hobart and his wife build a new house on acreage property at Tamborine Mountain, their shipping container which is onsite, allows them to “enjoy the process underway”.Mr Hobart said they had looked at a second-hand caravan however decided on a container so they could better enjoy the property and views. Out with the old, in with the new “That’s what people want — they want to take what could be a complex and drawn out project with just one point of contact,” he said Mr Burnett said luxury granny flats had gained momentum with the state’s ageing population on the rise.“People want something beautiful in the backyard for their parents to live in. They want it finely crafted,” he said. “It’s a studio with a shower and toiler, and there’s a nice deck all the way around and a hammock too,” he said.Mr Hannan said buyers loved the idea of Hamptons style containers for weekend getaways or Airbnb setups.“They love the idea of glamping but find it a hassle. Buyers want somewhere to just step into — it’s like a hotel room on their own block,” Mr Hannan said.He said one customer had run out of room in their house and purchased a container as extra living space. FOLLOW THE COURIER-MAIL ON FACEBOOKcenter_img Could this be our quirkiest house? The key to surviving your kids David Hobart and his wife Sarah who have a shipping container on their property, where they are also building a home at Mt Tamborine. Picture: Adam Head.QUEENSLAND home makers are saving tens of thousands of dollars on renovating and moving costs by opting instead for luxe shipping containers at bargain prices.Snapped together like Lego, modular homes are the cheaper alternatives to home extensions — offering space and style for renovators who want space and style on a budget.And business is “booming” in southeast Queensland, with million-dollar homeowners snapping up the containers to add value to their properties.Blok Modular principal architect Daniel Burnett said buying a modular home was like “buying a piece of architecture on eBay”, with many renovators using the containers as add ons, pushing them up against existing homes. MORE REAL ESTATE NEWS Australia’s cheapest suburb is by the beachlast_img read more

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Statoil Floats First Hywind Scotland Foundations off Stord

first_imgSource: StatoilThe first two of the five SPAR-type floating foundations built by the Navantia-Windar consortium for Statoil’s 30MW Hywind Scotland floating wind farm have arrived to the project’s assembly base in Stord, Norway.The two floating foundations were loaded onto the semi-submersible vessel Albatross at Navantia’s Fene shipyard in Spain in early May.The two foundations were unloaded off Stord last week and at least one of them has already been verticalized using ballast water and aggregates, reaching a draft of more than 75 metres.Source: NavantiaEach of these structures is 91 metres long, with a diameter of 14.8 metres and a weight of 3,450 tonnes.The remaining three foundations will be shipped out from the Fene shipyard at the end of May and at the beginning of June.The floating foundations will support five Siemens 6 MW turbines. The assembled units will be towed to the installation site some 25 kilometres off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, and anchored in water depths exceeding 100 metres.The wind farm, owned by Statoil (75%) and Masdar (25%), is expected to be commissioned in late 2017.last_img read more

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Top news of the week August 21 – 26

first_imgPrelude FLNG (Image courtesy of Shell)One injured in FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG plant incidentThe proceedings at the FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG plant in Delta, British Columbia, currently undergoing commissioning, were interrupted by an incident on Saturday, leaving one worker injured.French-Belgian JV to build Shell’s LNG bargeA joint venture between French CFT and Belgian Victrol has been selected by Shell to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering barge.Bahrain LNG terminal construction moves aheadTeekay LNG Partners said the construction of the liquefied natural gas import terminal in Bahrain keeps progressing.Video: Shell’s Prelude FLNG mooring lines connectedShell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility arrived at its location, the Prelude field, 475km North-North East of Broome late last month.Total buys Maersk Oil for $7.45 billionFrench gas and oil giant Total has acquired Maersk Oil & Gas, the exploration and production unit of A.P. Møller – Mærsk for $7.45 billion. LNG World News Stafflast_img read more

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Trio show intent to develop Gulf Coast express pipeline

first_imgKinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, a Kinder Morgan unit, DCP Midstream and a Targa Resources affiliate signed a letter of intent to develop the proposed Gulf Coast Express pipeline. The pipeline would provide an outlet for increased natural gas production from the Permian Basin to growing markets along the Texas Gulf Coast.As part of the definitive agreements subject to negotiation, Targa and DCP Midstream would commit significant volumes to the proposed project, including certain volumes provided by Pioneer Natural Resources company, a joint owner in Targa’s WestTX Permian Basin system and one of the largest producers in the Permian Basin.The capacity of the GCX project is expected to be approximately 1.92 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) and would include a lateral into the Midland Basin, consisting of approximately 50 miles of 36-inch pipeline and associated compression to serve gas processing facilities owned by Targa, as well as facilities owned jointly by Targa and Pioneer.The expected in-service date of the pipeline continues to be scheduled for the second half of 2019, pending the timely completion of definitive agreements with shippers and a final investment decision by the three parties.Per the terms of the letter of intent, KMI would build, operate and own a 50 percent interest in the GCX project, and DCP Midstream and Targa would each hold a 25 percent equity interest in the project.It is anticipated that natural gas supply would be sourced into the project from multiple locations, including existing receipt points along KMI’s KMTP and El Paso natural gas pipeline systems in the Permian Basin, a proposed interconnection with the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, and additional interconnections to both intrastate and interstate pipeline systems in the Waha area.Deliveries of natural gas into the Agua Dulce area would include points into KMTP’s existing Gulf Coast network, KMI-owned intrastate affiliates (KM Tejas and KM Border pipelines), the Valley Crossing pipeline, the NET Mexico header, and multiple other intrastate and interstate natural gas pipelines.last_img read more

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Dredging Today Conference Closes with Success

first_img‘The World Bank’s new procurement framework – opportunities for contractors’ was the main topic of presentation of Mr Dick Konijn, Owner – CEO, ID Consultancy BV.Mr Konijn said that “procurement in Investment Project Financing supports clients to achieve value for money with integrity in delivering sustainable development.”During his presentation, Mr Louis Strydom, Business Development Manager – Project Development, FMO – Dutch Development Bank, introduced his insights on the finance solutions that work for climate adaptation.Speaking about climate change adaptations of ports and inland waterways – Ine Moulaert, Senior Engineer Marine Environmental Department, Jan de Nul, Member, PIANC Working Group 178 on Climate Change Adaptation, said that one of PIANC objectives is to develop an approach on climate change adaptation planning and delivery.She also added that four categories of action, in line with expectations of Paris agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are:expand network of partners and supporters, raise awareness of climate-relates issues throughout sector;promote action to reduce (net) greenhouse emissions;improve preparedness, strengthen resilience and enable the waterborne transport infrastructure sector to adapt to climate change;encourage new ways of thinking.During the thematical session ‘Dredging for clean energy’, speakers discussed the developments where dredging meets climate mitigation.Rob van der Hage, Manager North Sea Infrastructure, TenneT, highlighted the importance of developing the offshore grid for wind power. “Future of offshore wind depends on cost reduction,” said Mr van der Hage.Talking about dredging for hydropower, Jan Peters, Managing Director, Alia Instruments & Imotec, made some very interesting points about dam related solutions for sediment problem and restoring of reservoirs capacity by sustainable dredging.In the closing session: How are you making your business resilient?, a panel discussion on how the dredging industry is preparing for the future took place.Topics and speakers included in this session:how are companies anticipating climate change and its effects;how are companies working on project integration and collaborating in a more holistic way;how are companies leveraging technologies developed outside the industry?Gert-Jan Nieuwenhuizen, Managing Director, Port of Amsterdam International;André van Hassent, Asset Manager Ports & Fairways, Port of Rotterdam;Olivier Marcus, Product Director Dredging, Damen Shipyards;John Mackenzie, Business Development Director, NMDC;Maurice de Kok, Director Strategic Business Development, Van Oord.International exhibitors and projectsThe first Dredging Today Conference was closed by Femke Perlot-Hoogeveen, the Conference Manager.The eminent speakers presented topical insights on the global picture about the climate changes, dredging, covering the main drivers for dredging, expected developments in world trade, urban development near coastlines, coastal protection, offshore energy and tourism and leisure.In these two days, DTC also showed its international focus; comprehensive session blocks were devoted to answering the question: How the world in which the dredging industry operates is changing.We are looking forward to seeing you next year on October 22 and 23 in Amsterdam RAI! The second and the final day of our first Dredging Today Conference, taking place at Amsterdam RAI Convention Center under the theme ‘Changing Climate, Resilient Business’, has drawn to a close today on a very positive note. The sessions saw straight-to-the-point statements and some interesting discussions.During the first thematical session: ‘Solutions and funding for climate change adaptation’, speakers addressed how the dredging community and dredging industry can respond to climate change.The emphasis in this session was on what international financial institutions, in particular multilateral and regional development banks, are doing in support of climate change adaptation and how industry and national governments can become involved in adaptation action programs.The session also included a special report from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, PIANC, on their views on adaptation action.Talking about International Financing Institutions: how do they work and what prospects do they offer? – Commerijn Plomp of Netherlands Enterprise Agency said that TIO’s roles as a government partner in guiding companies towards IFI-funded projects are:first contact point for Dutch companies;provide info on priorities, pipeline projects, relevant contact points and competition, match with Dutch expertise;advise on how the banks work, what to do, where to look and who to meet;long term commitment with high-potentials;connect to bilateral trade instruments.last_img read more