Equis Funds Group, the Asian infrastructure and energy fund manager, is aiming to raise $500 million to invest in Japanese solar ventures.
The firm has already passed the halfway mark in its latest fundraising effort, with the proceeds already fully committed to future investments. A spokesperson for the company told Infrastructure Investor that there was significant investor interest for the remaining $250 million.
Equis last month partnered with Partners Group, the Swiss fund manager, to form a $250 million investment platform focused on the development of utility-scale solar plants across Japan. The platform, which also involved Babson Capital, LGsuper and Qantas Superannuation, was the firms’ first solar deal in the country.
Japan Solar will provide its backing to Nippon Renewable Energy (NRE), one of Japan’s largest solar businesses. The company already owns a 300-megawatt (MW) pipeline of Japanese solar assets expected to be developed over the next two years.
The platform’s projects aim to benefit from 20-year power purchase agreements under Japan’s Feed-in Tariff. The extensive subsidy scheme – three times as generous as Germany’s – was adopted by the government in 2012 to spur investment in renewables.
Equis is currently investing its Equis Asia Fund, a vehicle targeting investments in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and lately, Japan. The fund reached its close above target in December 2012 on $650 million.
The vehicle has since raised another $310 million dedicated to co-investments, comprising $200 million for its Japan solar venture and $110 million for other deals it recently closed.
Equis was set up by former executives from the Asian Development Bank and Australia's Macquarie Group. It has around $960 million under management.