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Australian investment firm IFM rules out any new thermal coal projects

February 04, 2021

The Sydney Morning Herald:

One of the country’s largest infrastructure investors has ruled out investing in any new thermal coal assets, after announcing a $C2.8 billion ($2.9 billion) acquisition of an energy-efficient heating operation in Canada.

IFM Investors, which manages $148 billion for Australian superannuation funds, announced plans on Wednesday to acquire a 50 per cent stake in Canadian heating and cooling operator Enwave in a joint venture with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

IFM head of global infrastructure Kyle Mangini said the deal was part of the “tremendous shift” towards sustainability, adding the fund would not invest in new thermal coal projects.

“I don’t think anybody believes coal has got a long lifespan ahead of it,” Mr. Mangini said. “How long is somewhat up for debate. But you’ll see that fuel being eased out of the mix and the continued progression towards more renewable energy. We certainly wouldn’t invest in any new coal.”

Mr. Mangini said in many cases, renewable energy was less expensive than generating energy from fossil fuels. “When the economics work, things tend to move much more smoothly than when government subsidies are required.”

The Enwave deal follows a bid made last week by IFM Investors to buy a 22.69 per cent stake in Naturgy, Spain’s largest gas distribution and third largest electricity distribution networks.

IFM is one of the growing number of Australian fund managers that has committed to achieving net zero emissions across its investment portfolio by 2050.

[Charlotte Grieve]

More: IFM rules out new thermal coal projects after $2.9b energy deal

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