The COVID-19 pandemic affected Norfund’s financial results in 2020 through write-down of values in the existing portfolio and in the form of lower dividends and fewer realisations of equity instruments and funds.
Turbulence in the foreign exchange market through the early phase of the pandemic and subsequent strengthening of the Norwegian krone against our investment currencies resulted in substantial foreign exchange losses.
2020 ended for Norfund with a loss of NOK 128 million after tax. Norfund’s overall balance at the end of 2020 was NOK 25 billion. Despite the pandemic, our total investment portfolio has been increased by NOK 1.8 billion throughout 2020.
The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) was -0.1 per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent in 2019, calculated in investment currency. Calculated in Norwegian kroner, the IRR for 2020 was -3.6 per cent, compared to +7.4 per cent in 2019.
IRR for 2020 (investment currency)
IRR since inception (investment currency)
As we see significant annual variations, the return on our investment is better reflected in IRR calculations since inception. As of 31 December 2020, Norfund’s IRR since inception, calculated in investment currency, was 5.2 per cent. In Norwegian kroner, the IRR since inception was 7.7 per cent.
Clean Energy portfolio
In 2020, Norfund’s Clean Energy portfolio had an IRR in investment currency of 2.8 per cent. This is weaker than in 2019 as the performance of Globeleq, one of Norfund’s platform investments, was influenced by the pandemic and another project encountered problems with poor wind speeds and reduced electricity demand.
With an IRR of 4.3 per cent, SN Power is the main contributor to the positive IRR for the whole Clean Energy portfolio.
Financial Institutions portfolio
Investments in Financial Institutions were influenced by the ongoing global pandemic with an IRR of minus 2.2 per cent in investment currency. This result was notably weaker than the positive IRR of 7.4 per cent in 2019. The main drivers for this were the assumed loss on the fraud case and a general value reduction of the bank investment portfolio in Arise. We consider the valuation of Arise to be conservative, giving us an upside if and when market multiples improve. NMI’s investments in microfinance institutions were generally hit harder by the pandemic than banks. However, there has been limited need for restructuring, and some new investments were made during the year.
Scalable Enterprises – funds
The IRR of our portfolio in Scalable Enterprises – Funds decreased from -7.4 per cent in 2019 to -12.2 per cent in investment currency in 2020. The pandemic hit the portfolio hard, especially in Africa and Latin America, while the value of Norfund’s investments in Asia rose by 5 per cent in 2020. The largest negative contributor was a regional SME fund providing loans in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another large negative contributor to the IRR in 2020 was a fund in Latin America that is at the end of its lifetime. However, the fund has delivered a total positive IRR since its inception.
Scalable Enterprises – direct investments
The Scalable Enterprises – Agriculture & Manufacturing portfolio had an IRR of -9.8 per cent in 2020, measured in investment currency. The result was significantly influenced by the difficult operational environment as a result of COVID-19.
The realised values from exits from all the above sectors will be reinvested in new investments that exhibit high development impact potential.
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) in investment currency
|Scalable Enterprises Direct||-4.4||-9.8||3.3||-5.0||4.1||-5.2||-4||-10||-4||-10||2||7|
|Scalable Enterprises Funds||-0.1||-12.2||-7.4||-14.4||-4.0||-1.6||0||-3||12||9||3||10|