Edmond de Rothschild-backed energy transition fund hits €162m first close

Investors in the vehicle, which is targeting a €250m close by the year end, include French pension funds and the European Investment Bank.

A new fund, backed by French asset management firm Edmond de Rothschild and targeting energy-transition projects, has reached a €162 million first close.

The Pearl Infrastructure Environmental Fund was launched in June 2017 by Pearl Advisory, a firm established by former Veolia and Suez employees, to invest in environmental infrastructure.

Edmund de Rothschild, which holds a minority stake in Pearl Advisory, was one of the anchor investors, though it did not disclose the amount of its commitment.

The other anchor investors include France’s Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and the European Investment Bank. The EIB said in a statement that each would be committing €30 million. However, according to the EIB’s website the fund had originally requested €50 million from the bank.

A spokesman for Edmond de Rothschild said that French insurance companies MACSF and ProBTP were also among the first-close investors, along with Caisse des Dépôts’ Banque des Territoires.

The vehicle is looking to raise €250 million by the end of the year. It is eyeing between 12 and 15 investments in European renewable energy-generation assets, as well as waste and wastewater treatment sites. According to the statement, the fund will make investments of between €15 million and €40 million in mid-sized project companies, with a focus on greenfield projects and early brownfield assets based on mature technologies.

At the fund’s launch, Edmund de Rothschild said a first close would occur in September 2018, and that it would be supported by investors from the US and Germany in addition to the French investors.

“We wanted to attract demanding investors and generally this kind of investors take the time needed to finalise their due diligence,” a spokeswoman for Edmond de Rothschild explained.ind

The Pearl Environmental Infrastructure Fund is launched with support from Edmond de Rothschild’s private equity unit, whose infrastructure team focuses on debt. It is expecting to hold a close at around €750 million next month for its fourth infrastructure debt vehicle, before coming back to the market with a new fund before the year end.