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11-04-2023 12:13

“Companies with a sustainable focus will grow”

Strong financial muscle to drive the green transition in the right direction is crucial. The Norwegian investment company Verdane will provide this muscle power together with one of Europe’s largest growth funds for sustainable, technology-based companies – and backed by Nordea.
Andreas Daae, Verdane og Peter Bäck, Nordea
Andreas Daae, Head of Capital Markets of the investment company Verdane, appreciates the good collaboration with Peter Bäck, relationship manager at Nordea.

"Our goal is to make investments that contribute to a better future. Naturally, it must be companies that we expect to show financial growth, but not at the expense of the sustainability perspective," says Andreas Daae, Head of Capital Markets at Verdane. The private equity manager’s goal is to build a large and sustainable portfolio. Last year the company had capital of just over NOK 43 billion.

Our best discoveries are growth companies with focus on digitalisation and decarbonisation.

Andreas Daae, Head of Capital Markets, Verdane.

GREEN INVESTMENTS: Andreas Daae from Verdane is looking for investments that will benefit the economy as well as the planet.

Fund with sustainable goals

As a spearhead in green investment, Verdane established the Idun fund in 2021.

To be considered for the fund, companies must fulfil at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the companies must be approved by an internal investment committee, which considers the quality of the company’s growth prospects – and whether it fulfils its corporate social responsibility.

Nordea has provided a credit facility of NOK 800 million for the fund and thus made an big contribution to one of the banks’ key responsibilities to aid the green transition: ensuring capital for investments with a sustainable focus. That is something Daae and Verdane are very pleased with.

Peter and the rest of the team are really important for us. They have a lot of financial expertise in both investments and credits. 

Andreas Daae, Head of Capital Markets, Verdane.

Andreas Daae also emphasises that Nordea is a solution-oriented business partner, which is good at delivering quality under tight deadlines.

GOOD COLLABORATION: Andreas Daae (to the right) from Verdane is very pleased with the close collaboration with Peter Bäck from Nordea.

The 2040 test

Today the Idun fund has a portfolio of nine companies; all of them with high growth ambitions. It is too early to say how the fund will perform going forward, but Andreas Daae firmly believes the portfolio companies will show good growth.

"Companies with focus on sustainability will grow. And we believe they have good potential for success," he says and specifies:

"We invest according to the 2040 test, which means that we assess whether the company is positioned to be successful in a greener future – if they will have increased in value both financially and in a global perspective when we reach 2040."

Investing in cornerstone companies

One of the companies that meet all the investment company’s requirements is the Gjøvik-based company Topro, which was included in the fund last year. Verdane now owns the company together with the Norwegian health fund Serendipity Partners after Investinor sold its holding.

The cornerstone company in the inland is one of the market leaders in Europe within mobility products. It is also the only company in its field with all its production facilities in Europe – more specifically in Rambekk a few minutes outside the centre of Gjøvik. 

The production mainly consists of rollators with different functions, forms and colours. 

"Rollators are like cars; in the beginning there was just one type and you were happy if you had one. Now there are numerous models and it’s only preferences and finances that limit your choices," says Asbjørn Eskild, CEO of Topro.

LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION: With the help of robots, Topro Industrier can make around 650 rollators per day.

Leading in Europe

Today Topro exports rollators to 25 countries worldwide. They have offices in Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. 

"We make around 650 rollators every day to meet the demand," says Asbjørn Eskild. 

With the rollators and other mobility products, Topro’s mantra is that you should be able to stay active even if you have mobility challenges.

Torpo’s objective is to create products to help users maintain an active lifestyle instead of becoming limited when their mobility deteriorates. This way many people can stay in their own homes and continue to live as usual for longer. 

Asbjørn Eskild, CEO of Topro

He experiences that the products help increase people’s quality of life and reduce the feeling of loneliness and isolation.

"Our mobility products help people do ordinary things such as going shopping rather than just staying at home alone – things that keep people active physically and mentally." 

In addition to rollators, the company produces walking aids for stairs, walkers and other useful aids.

LOCAL PRODUCTION: Asbjørn Eskild, CEO of Topro, sticks to Norwegian-made aluminium to make rollators. In the background Ingrid Lonar, Head of Sustainability.

Emissions mapping

The company, which dates back to 1966, has over the past years invested heavily in advanced robotics.

With the robots, we’ve been able to insource the production stages that were previously outsourced to Asia, and we have thus also created local jobs.

Asbjørn Eskild, CEO of Topro

With all the production phases taking place at the factory in Gjøvik, Topro can also ensure that the rollators are made in the most energy efficient and sustainable way as possible. 

All the energy used at the factory comes from hydro power and the aluminium in the rollators is made at Hydro’s plant in Høyanger. Plastic parts are made of plastic pellets which are produced in Sweden, using 100% renewable energy.

"We need to map all emissions and the environmental footprint. Our ambition is to become circular at all production stages, but to get there we need an overview of where and how we can improve," says Ingrid Lonar, Head of Sustainability at Topro.

Ingrid Lonar is Head of Sustainability at Topro. Her ambition is to make all stages of the production circular.

Good relationships

Asbjørn Eskild at Topro makes no secret of saying that Verdane’s investment in the company has been really important for their sustainable focus.

 "Verdane is a company with many resources and competencies, and we really enjoy learning from their insight and knowledge, especially in terms of sustainability", he says. 

Nordea is another important business partner for Topro. Asbjørn Eskild especially emphasises the close relationship they have with their relationship manager Elin Helene Vaag at Nordea’s branch office in Gjøvik.

"For us it’s important with a bank that knows us, is available when we need it and has local knowledge," concludes Asbjørn Eskild.

Nordea helps with sustainable financing

At Nordea there are several options of financing specific projects with focus on the climate and environment or loans that support the general transition to more sustainable operations. In addition there are leasing of carriers such as trucks and vans.

Read more about the sustainable choices we offer businesses in: