German asset manager Aquila Capital is increasing its focus on the Asia-Pacific region, expanding its existing office in Singapore to create a new regional hub.
The company, which had €11.2 billion in assets under management as of 31 March 2020, will invest in renewables-related assets such as solar PV, onshore wind, hydropower and energy storage.
Aquila has also appointed Alexander Lenz as CEO Asia-Pacific to lead its expansion in the region. Lenz was previously CEO of Conergy, leading the company through its acquisition by Macquarie Capital’s Green Investment Group in August 2018.
“Singapore is the best city in terms of access to access to talent in the APAC region, which is relatively immature in terms of market development for renewables,” Lenz told Infrastructure Investor. “The city has positioned itself as a renewable hub for the region. The government has been striving to attract players like us here.”
Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Daiwa Securities Group, took a 40 percent stake in Aquila last December, which the latter said at the time would help “capture additional attractive investment opportunities for investors in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Lenz said the expansion of the Singapore office was “a logical continuation” of the partnership with Daiwa. “We are ambitious, based on our experience and success in Europe – we want to play an important role in the region,” he said.
Aquila will focus on onshore wind and storage initially, with offshore wind not considered, and will invest through its existing funds rather than raising a new dedicated vehicle.
“Our existing fund structures are tried and tested, and there’s more than enough firepower for us to get going. We’re already focused on bringing Asian investors to Europe through our existing structures, but we want to attract investors from Asia,” Lenz said.
On which markets within APAC Aquila would look to target, Lenz said that the firm splits the region into “three groups”.
“One is China and India, which we won’t be looking at because we don’t think we can add value here as there is enough domestic competition,” he said. “We’re looking at two other groups: on one hand, what we call developed countries, such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia, and on the other hand, the ASEAN countries around Singapore [that are] high-growth countries with emerging market risks.”
Founded in 2001, Aquila has focused to date on renewable energy assets in Europe and Asia. The firm completed a capital raising of €127.5 million this month for its London-listed European Renewables Income Fund,, which it said would be used to acquire new assets. Last year, the firm raised an initial €154.2 million for the fund, falling short of its €300 million target.
Additional reporting by Zak Bentley.