An energy transition platform backed by asset manager Amundi and EDF has raised about €500 million following commitments from 15 investors.
Amundi Energy Transition, held 60:40 respectively by the French duo, will invest across sectors such as onshore wind, district heating and energy storage, predominantly in France. Including leverage, the fund can invest more than €2 billion, Amundi said. The vehicle is Amundi’s first fund investing in energy infrastructure.
The fund was supported by a €50 million injection by the European Investment Bank, one of the vehicle’s anchor investors alongside Crédit Agricole Assurances. Insurance group PRO BTP and pension fund Ircantec were among the other largely French investors, although AET chief executive Matthieu Poisson told Infrastructure Investor that Italian insurers and a sovereign wealth fund also formed part of the pool.
“A lot of life insurers realised they were bidding on the same assets through different funds and that valuations are super high,” he said. “We try to bring to them assets that they can’t normally get from other funds. A lot of CIOs are stressed because there are so few infrastructure assets being sold. They wanted a pure play product and we’ve taken the definition of infrastructure by the regulator and we only invest in that.”
The fund made its first investment in January last year, in a 330MW cogeneration plant portfolio across more than 150 installations. AET invested €150 million in the portfolio, with leverage ratcheting the total investment to more than €400 million and Poisson said the deal and the fundraising happened quicker than initially expected.
“A first-time fund in the sector normally takes about 20 months to close and we’ve done it in about a year,” he said. “Most investors say come back when you have a track record. Our fund is mainly greenfield and we managed to close deals fairly quickly and investors are pretty happy about it.”
The tie-up between Amundi and EDF was first announced in 2014, although it was not until the latter part of 2016 that the pair received regulatory clearance to begin fundraising.
“[As a result] of our partnership with EDF, we think there is an opportunity to chase assets which are probably too difficult for the plain financial players,” Poisson said.