1492738881373 - Super Fund suffers setback with ‘expansion capital’ strategy after write-off

Super Fund suffers setback with ‘expansion capital’ strategy after write-off

The NZ Super Fund has suffered a setback investing in early-stage companies, writing off a $47.5 million investment in a United States wind turbine company, Ogin.

The fund invested in Ogin between 2013 and 2015, but it said the company had failed to raise the money it needed to commercialise its designs.

It would be wound-up, with some of its technology sold to wind energy giant Vespas.

Super Fund chief investment officer Matt Whineray said the Crown-owned fund was “disappointed”, but investing in early-stage companies involved higher risks.

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“We went into this investment knowing that the company was early-stage. Our decision to invest was based on a wide range of supporting expert evidence and we continued to support the company for a number of years,” he said.

“We continue to see long-term value in investing in alternative energy,” he added.

The $34 billion Super Fund has been investing in early-stage businesses for several years through its “expansion capital strategy”.

Spokeswoman Karren Bealand said it had about $100m invested in New Zealand firms through the programme – all invested through venture capital funds.

Its domestic investments had generated annualised net returns of 15 per cent, she said.

Another large overseas punt the fund has made through the programme is a direct US$105m investment in Californian company View Inc.

It makes “dynamic” glass for office buildings that tints automatically in response to sunlight, and which is designed to save on air-conditioning costs.


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