PGGM’s impact investments are less battered by COVID-19

first_imgDutch asset manager PGGM confirmed that its investments in companies with a positive impact on society have suffered less from the COVID-19 crisis than its overall investment universe.Martin Eijgenhuijsen, investment director for long term equity strategies, said the €1.3bn portfolio with sustainable equity holdings – which includes pharmaceutical firms and food stuff companies – had “remained relatively stable and was performing as expected”.On the €238bn asset manager’s website, he noted that the positive impact of the companies in the actively managed listed equity portfolio remained unchanged as a consequence of the crisis.The firm said the selection criteria included the prospect of decent long-term returns, a solid balance sheet, as well as excellent management. Its holdings include US pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences, which is developing medication against the coronavirus, and UK-based Medtronic, a large supplier of respiratory equipment.PGGM’s sustainable investments also include Microport, a Chinese manufacturer of equipment used against lung diseases. Eijgenhuijsen said that Microport is one of the few firms that had seen its market valuation soar during the crisis.The asset manager said it had also invested in several companies developing COVID-19 tests and producing desinfectants.It added that Medtronic had disclosed its design specifications for ventilators, while for example Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and Israeli firm Teva had announced that they will donate hydroxychloroquine for the fight against the virus.According to Eijgenhuijsen, investments in food retailers such as Unilever and Nestlé, and retailers of fresh fruits and vegetables were also weathering the crisis relatively well.A spokesman for PGGM declined to provide details about the relatively limited decline of such investments. He suggested that investors selling off big stakes in the companies involved might have played a role in decreasing valuations.PGGM, the asset manager for the large healthcare scheme PFZW, established its impact portfolio in 2016, with the aim of combining financial and social returns, while sticking to its risk-return ratio requirements.Its entire €16.5bn impact portfolio focuses on healthcare, food security, climate and water scarcity, and also comprises investments in private equity, green bonds, infrastructure and real estate.This year, PGGM is to update its impact investments position for another five-year period.last_img