London overtakes New York as Norway’s wealth fund top unlisted real estate destination

The Norwegian wealth fund is a co-owner of London’s Regent Street, above. (Reuters)
Updated 13 March 2018
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London overtakes New York as Norway’s wealth fund top unlisted real estate destination

OSLO: London has overtaken New York as the top destination for the Norwegian wealth fund’s unlisted real estate investments, a fund report showed on Tuesday.
The $1 trillion fund is focusing on investing in ten locations, which it considers to be global cities that are expected to grow in terms of numbers, employment and trade.
London, New York and Paris accounted for 22.8 percent, 21.5 percent and 19.1 percent of the fund’s unlisted property investments in 2017.
In 2016, New York was first, followed by London and Paris, accounting for 19.2 percent, 17 percent and 13.1 percent, of these investments respectively.
The fund’s unlisted real estate investments corresponded to 2.6 percent of overall assets at end-2017. Its target is to invest up to 7 percent of its value in such properties over time.
The fund is a co-owner of London’s Regent Street and properties on the Champs-Elysees in Paris and Hudson Square in New York. It funnels the revenues from Norway’s oil and gas production, investing in stocks, bonds and real estate.
The fund made its first unlisted real estate investment in Asia, in Tokyo in December, and has eyed investing in Singapore, although it has yet to make a purchase in the city-state.
The fund invested 15 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.94 billion) in unlisted real estate in 2017, taking its total holdings to 219 billion crowns.


Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact

A general view of Gulf Cement Company in Ghalilah, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates July 16, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 min 35 sec ago
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Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact

  • The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, meaning that if it were a country, it would be the third largest emitter, behind the US and China

LONDON: European funds managing $2 trillion in assets called on cement companies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions on Monday, warning that a failure to do so could put their business models at risk.
Some asset managers are ramping up engagement with heavy polluters to demand a faster transition to a cleaner economy.
“The cement sector needs to dramatically reduce the contribution it makes to climate change,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 170 members, mainly European pension funds and asset managers. “This is ultimately a business-critical issue for the sector,” Pfeifer said in a statement.
The group said investors had written to cement or construction materials companies including Ireland’s CRH, Franco-Swiss group LafargeHolcim and France’s St. Gobain to demand they achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
They also noted that Germany’s HeidelbergCement had already adopted the target. The funds urged all cement companies to align themselves with the 2015 Paris agreement to combat global warming, engage with policymakers to ensure an orderly transition to a low carbon economy, and increase their reporting of climate risk.
“Construction materials companies may ultimately risk divestment and lack of access to capital as an increasing number of investors seek to exclude highly carbon-intensive sectors from their portfolios,” said Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of the Ethos Foundation.

FASTFACT

The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Signatories collectively manage assets worth $2 trillion and include Aberdeen Standard Investments, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Sarasin & Partners and Hermes EOS.
Although funds are increasingly engaging with companies from airlines to carmakers on emissions, few are calling for the systemic transformation of the global economic system that scientists increasingly argue is needed to prevent runaway climate breakdown.
The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, meaning that if it were a country, it would be the third largest emitter, behind the US and China.
With climate campaigners traditionally focused on fossil fuel companies, the European cement sector has received comparatively little scrutiny until recently.
On Tuesday, police arrested six climate activists from civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion at a protest aimed at disrupting a site in east London belonging to London Concrete, a unit of LafargeHolcim.
In June last year, a report from think-tank Chatham House concluded that although there was no “silver bullet” to reduce emissions from cement, it should be possible to deploy a range of policies and technologies to achieve deep decarbonization.