The Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (ESIF), a global asset management fund with more than 2,000 employees managing £373 billion of assets, has acquired a majority stake in Lefdal Mine Datacenter (LMD). This unique ‘green’ colocation data center is based in an underground mine in Norway. It uses cold sea water from an adjacent fjord for cooling and renewable energy to power its operations.
Operational since 2017, the facility boasts 75 underground halls, with data center containers parked in former mine workings that are accessed by underground roads. The data center offers high-density colocation capacity, aiming at clients with high-performance computing workloads, hyperscalers, as well as ‘normal’ users looking for colocation solutions.
Rittal, a subsidiary of the German industrial family business, Friedhelm Loh Group, will remain a minority shareholder. The majority stake has been acquired from a consortium of local shareholders in a transaction which, together with Rittal, facilitates further investment and capacity expansion.
“Lefdal Mine Datacenter is an attractive asset for ESIF due to its strong market fundamentals, competitive positioning and the level of sustainability within its operations,” said Heiko Schupp, Global Head of Infrastructure at Columbia Threadneedle Investments.
“With its potential to build out data capacity, we believe the company is well positioned to participate in the growth of demand for data, and the potential for capital growth makes the company a good fit for ESIF’s investment strategy. We look forward to a successful working relationship with the management team at Lefdal Mining Datacenter and our partners and participating in the data center’s next stage of expansion.”
ESIF’s financial advisers were DNB Markets and Wikborg Rein acted as legal advisers. For Lefdal Mine Datacenter and its shareholders, Pareto Securities AS acted as financial advisers and CLP DA as legal advisers.
Rittal, ESIF, 10MW Capacity
“With its 10 megawatts of installed capacity, Lefdal Mine Datacenter has been in the early stages of developing the facility into a world leading data center,” said Jørn Skaane, CEO of Lefdal Mining Datacenter. “With ESIF coming in as a shareholder together with Rittal, the stage has been set for building out and operating large customer requirements. At Lefdal Mine, customers do not have to worry about limitations in future capacity due to the size of our facility and access to high quantities of renewable power and cooling.”
As a technology partner, Rittal provides preconfigured, modular and scalable infrastructure for this “innovative” data center.
“We believe the technology used at Lefdal Mine Datacenter sets a new standard,” said Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO of Rittal. “In particular, our German private cloud provider German Edge Cloud has been able to leverage Lefdal by offloading energy intensive industrial IT workloads from the edge to the center. Processes such as machine learning and HPC originating from edge services in the European industry are better processed at Lefdal Mine Datacenter, where high densities can be run in a highly cost-effective way.”
Founded in 1961, Rittal is the largest company in the owner operated Friedhelm Loh Group. The Friedhelm Loh Group is active worldwide, with 18 production sites and 80 international subsidiaries. It has approximately 12,000 employees and posted revenues of €2.6 billion in fiscal 2018.