Canadian and Dutch pension funds Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System (OMERS) and PGGM have become part owners of Puget Sound Energy, acquiring a one-third stake in the company from longtime investor Macquarie Infrastructure Partners.
The $72.8 billion Ontario pension system will own 23.9% of the electricity and natural company, and the $248.2 billion PGGM will hold 10%. The Dutch pension plan for healthcare and social workers is making the investment to bolster its sustainable energy holdings, in line with a goal to halve its carbon footprint by 2020 and ditch its coal holdings by 2022.
PGGM also noted the benefit of Puget Sound’s Washington State location, which boasts a strong economy and population growth, plus local government support for sustainable energy.
Puget Sound, which provides electric and natural gas service to homes and businesses in the Seattle area, also seeks to halve its carbon footprint, aiming for 2040.
Ralph Berg, the Ontario fund’s infrastructure executive vice president and global head, said its Puget acquisition “strengthens our presence in the US.” That includes investments in the Chicago Skyway toll road and Oncor Electric Delivery, the largest transmission and distribution company in Texas.
Maquarie has owned a 44% non-controlling stake in Puget Sound since 2009. After Ontario and PGGM take their 33.9% cut, other longtime investors Alberta Investment Management Corp. and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. will take the remaining 10.1%, upping their stakes to 20.9% and 13.6%, respectively.
Maquarie is divesting from Puget Sound because it is nearing the end of its terms with the energy company.
OMERS declined to comment. PGGM could not be reached for comment.