Conquest agrees first investments for €500m fund

The asset manager will buy six solar plants with a combined 35MW capacity, two months after reaching a €115m first close on the vehicle.

European firm Conquest Asset Management has agreed to buy six solar plants in France with a total capacity of 35MW.

The projects were bought from developer Solairedirect, a subsidiary of French energy giant ENGIE, which will continue to operate and maintain the projects while a 20-year power purchase agreement with EDF is in place. The firm declined to state the purchase price of the deal.

The operating assets were hailed as “best-in-class in the current European renewable energy landscape” by Amaury Korniloff, a managing director at Solairedirect, in terms of their construction and maintenance.

The deal was pursued by Conquest’s Renewable Yield Europe fund, a vehicle launched in January and targeting €500 million. The platform reached a €115 million first close in March following commitments from large European insurers, smaller pension funds and global energy corporations. Conquest aims to hold a final close by the end of 2018, with an internal rate of return target “significantly above” market average.

While the acquisitions were agreed by the firm’s asset management division, Conquest and Solairedirect had worked together previously when the former’s advisory team acted for the latter in selling a 23MW French portfolio to an unnamed European investment vehicle backed by insurance companies in 2015.