“OPF definitely intends to be an active owner at Herøya Industrial Park”
So says Director of Investments at Oslo Pensjonsforsikring (OPF) Kjetil Houg, who formally took over Herøya Industripark AS with effect from yesterday, 23 June.
“The ownership role we play when making property investments is mainly an active one,” Kjetil Houg says. ”We intend to contribute to the development of the industrial park and to create interest in the area. This means we go in with capital, board members and operating and management skills.
“Herøya must still be an industrial park. We are investing in the industrial park because we believe in continued growth. We have to look after the many solid and long-term businesses established here, and build on the existing operations organisation. The tenants will still be dealing with the same people.
“Our clear ambition is that the industrial park must be important for Norway, and something we can be proud of.”
“What is OPF’s investment profile? Who will benefit from the capital?”
“We don’t invest directly in industrial projects or businesses. But in certain situations, we can play a role in the life of an industrial company by assessing different models for ownership of the site and infrastructure.
“Herøya is a complex entity. Many companies are tenants in buildings and premises which we own, manage and maintain, while others own and manage their own buildings, such as Yara. They invest in their own buildings and only rent the land from us.
“The exciting and important thing is the tenants’ business. We are flexible and looking to identify models which are suitable for the business.”
“Do you think that some sectors or businesses are particularly well-suited for Herøya Industrial Park?”
“Herøya is involved in many exciting projects. It was particularly good to hear that Elkem Solar is starting up a new solar venture at Herøya. In addition there are several projects in the pipeline, and we hope that some of these will end as establishments.
“At the same time, we have to make sure that the industrial park’s many solid and long-term tenants stay put and receive the support they need for development and growth,” Houg underlines.
“How do you envisage helping companies at Herøya Industrial Park to develop?”
“We hope to make an active contribution to operation and management of buildings, infrastructure and areas. There are areas at Herøya which are free for new activity and we hope to find new uses for these. Generally speaking, the needs of the business will determine how we lay our plans.
“We have also noted that there could be a colossal potential from the environment and climate. Our ambition is that the Park will meet high expectations in terms of sustainability. We believe we can achieve success here, both with regard to pollution and climate gases. If we can lift the Park in these areas, together with the tenants, we could be even more attractive to ambitious enterprises.”
“Does OPF have the skills to develop an industrial park?”
“Herøya has an existing operations organisation with a solid background which we shall be building on.
“The industrial park is a complex investment, and in many ways is more complex than those we have worked on earlier. There are many contractual conditions and issues which are new for us, for instance, in the area of pollution. In order to strengthen our skills as owner, we have joined forces with a partner, FG Eiendom, which operates several other industrial parks in Norway. Representatives from FG Eiendom sit on the Board of Herøya Industrial Park and will spend many hours with the employees of the operations organisation to ensure we can deliver after Hydro pulls out. We have also appointed several heavyweight external board members who will help to lift our industrial level. I am convinced we shall deliver a product which is at least as good as what went on before.
“So why is OPF buying an industrial park? How does Herøya fit in with OPF’s portfolio strategy?”
“We have invested NOK 12 billion in property in Norway, and also own buildings in other industrial parks. Our portfolio is characterised by our fondness for infrastructure investments. So, for instance, we own school buildings, recycling stations, transformer stations and various production buildings at Gardermoen Airport. We consider that investments of this type give a good spread of risk and are a more industrial way of thinking about property investment. We create value as a result of long-term cooperation with tenants, not by short-term buying and selling.
“Herøya has solid, long-term tenants. The industrial park is a good match for our ambitions. And we have in place a structure with the various parties which gives us great confidence that we shall get there.
“After all, the location of the Park and its access to renewable energy, harbours and process water will always be there. So we can hope that the Norwegian authorities will do their part in developing the onshore industries.
“The industrial park has been here for almost 100 years, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be here for another 100. It’s all about capability, taking risks and having consideration for the surrounding neighbours.”
“We have a clear ambition that Herøya Industrial Park must be important for Norway, and something we can be proud of.”