Whitehelm makes district heating move with Norwegian deal – exclusive

The investment was made on behalf of an Australian LP and a new European client.

European infrastructure manager Whitehelm Capital has made its first investment in district heating after buying a 49 percent stake in a network in Norway.

The group invested in Tromso-based Kvitebjørn Varme, with local real estate and renewable energy investment firm Daimyo retaining the majority of the company. Whitehelm declined to disclose the value of the deal.

Kvitebjørn Varme has an exclusive licence for the district heating of buildings and streets in Tromso, producing more than 90GWh of thermal energy per year and distributed across a 55km underground pipe network. This portfolio is thought to have doubled over the last three years.

The deal marks Whitehelm’s entry into the district heating sector, with Matteo Andreoletti, European head of infrastructure equity, explaining that it has “long identified district heating as an attractive and resilient market.”

Kvitebjørn Varme also owns a 20MW energy-from-waste facility. Whitehelm acquired a 32.4MW energy-from-waste plant in Sarspborg in July 2016. The firm also owns an onshore wind farm in Sweden.

The investment by Whitehelm was made on behalf of one Australian investor and a European client, the latter of which is a new investor for the group, chief executive Graham Matthews told Infrastructure Investor. The majority of Whitehelm’s managed investments have typically been made on behalf of Australian pension schemes including Prime Super, State Super and Sunsuper.