VILLUM FOUNDATION invests DKK 20 million in Merkur Cooperative Bank
With a DKK 20m investment from VILLUM FOUNDATION, Merkur Cooperative Bank will be able to increase its number of loans to sustainable projects.
With its investment of DKK 20m in newly issued cooperative shares from Merkur, VILLUM FOUNDATION is enabling Merkur to extend future additional loans to the tune of DKK 120m to companies, start-ups or organisations within fields such as the environment, ecology and social work.
Merkur’s CEO Lars Pehrson confirms that the investment provides Merkur with the opportunity to make an even greater impact in that the extra investment augments Merkur’s equity. The size of its equity determines how much a bank can lend of the deposits it has received from customers:
”VIL- "VILLUM FOUNDATION’s investment takes us a big step further in our ambitions to translate the very substantial deposit surplus entrusted to us by our customers into sensible and societally beneficial loans.”
At the same time, Lars Pehrson sees the investment as an important recognition of Merkur’s work through more than 30 years. Lars Pehrson elaborates:
”I’m happy and proud, and I hope that the interest that VILLUM FOUNDATION has shown us will inspire others to take a closer look at Merkur Cooperative Bank as being not just a sustainable investment but a good one, too.”
The concept of Impact Investment comprises investments, which in addition to a financial return, are expected to create positive societal changes – and the field is generating increasing awareness both internationally and in Denmark. Merkur has over a period of years sold Impact Investment products to Danish customers.
VILLUM FOUNDATION sees its investment in Merkur as an Impact Investment, which is part of the foundation’s growing focus on this field.
VILLUM FOUNDATION explains that its choice of Merkur Cooperative Bank is grounded in the expectation that the investment will provide a sensible return while at the same time enabling Merkur to increase its loans. Merkur focuses on providing loans within, e.g., environmental and ecological areas, as well as the educational and social sectors, which coincides substantially with the
VILLUM FOND’s activities. VILLUM FOUNDATION’s Executive Director, Lars Hansen, says the following about the shared
interests between Merkur and VILLUM FOUNDATION:
”Ou- "Our investment will, in addition to a sensible return, make it possible for Merkur to increase its loans to companies and projects whose purpose, just as the VILLUM FOUNDATION’s other initiatives, is to contribute toward a more sustainable future for all of us.”
Per Skovsted, Chief Investment Officer for VILLUM FOUNDATION states:
”With this investment, the VILLUM FOUNDATION will be able to benefit from Merkur’s professional banking expertise in selecting projects and activities that the cooperative bank chooses to engage in; and in this manner Merkur will serve as guarantor of financial accountability.”
VILLUM FOUNDATION will be a shareholder on equal footing with other shareholders, like other large shareholders without agreements related to board representation or other special privileges.
Merkur Cooperative Bank is a bank primarily owned by its customers, and which uses its money as a means to create positive changes in society. Merkur Cooperative Bank’s capital base will increase to more than DKK 300m with VILLUM FOUNDATION’s investment. Merkur’s balance sheet amounts to DKK 2.7bn.
Merkur is a co-founder of Global Alliance for Banking on Values – the international interest group for ethical and sustainable banks.
VILLUM FOUNDATION is a non-profit fund that supports technical and scientific research, environmental, social and cultural purposes, both domestically and abroad. In 2015 VILLUM FOUNDATION distributed DKK 608m to support projects in the interest of the common good. VILLUM FOUNDATION was established in 1971 by civil engineer Villum Kann Rasmussen, who developed the
modern skylight window VELUX® and established the VKR corporate group, in which VILLUM FOUNDATION is the majority shareholder.
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Merkur Cooperative Bank
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