CFSGAM launches seminal clean energy fund

Australian green bank CEFC is the $80m cornerstone investor in a ‘first of its kind’ platform that may raise an additional $500m.

Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM), the Sydney-headquartered fund manager, has received a cornerstone investment of up to $80 million for its new CFS Australian Clean Energy Infrastructure Fund.

The commitment comes from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), a kind of Australian ‘green bank’ launched in 2012 to mobilise capital investment into renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

A CEFC statement bills the new fund as Australia’s “first unlisted clean energy direct infrastructure platform for institutional investors”. The fund will seek to raise an additional $300 million to $500 million over the next three to five years.

With the cornerstone commitment secured, the fund will now begin to invest in both greenfield developments ready for construction and mature operating assets, using established eligible technologies.

In the statement, CEFC chief executive officer Oliver Yates said that up to $65 billion had been invested in infrastructure by Australian superannuation funds over the last decade.

He added that “a growing number of these funds and their members want to invest in the clean energy and new energy efficient technology sectors to take advantage of their strong growth and future potential”.

CFSGAM, which is the asset management division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is one of the largest managers of Australian-sourced funds. At the end of June it managed more than A$171.7 billion (€119.6 billion; $161.3 billion) alongside First State Investments on behalf of institutional investors, pension funds, wholesale distributors and platforms, financial planners and their clients.

First State Investments, the international operation of CFSGAM, is currently fundraising for its European Diversified Infrastructure Fund, which has a target of €1.5 billion and hard cap of €2 billion. The fund reached €1.3 billion on its fourth close in September last year.