Finnish manager launches India solar fund after GIG tie-up

The fund has been seeded with a stake in a 185MW portfolio, with future India-focused vehicle launches under consideration.

Finnish asset manager Elite Alfred Berg has launched a fund targeting Indian solar assets following a deal with compatriot Fortum and the Green Investment Group’s UK Climate Investments.

EAB has taken a 14 percent stake in Fortum’s 185MW portfolio of operational solar assets in India, which could be increased to 30 percent by the end of the year. UKCI, the GIG’s joint venture with the UK government, has acquired a 40 percent share in the portfolio.

Fortum has received €150 million from the 54 percent sale, including the deconsolidation of debt, the Finnish utility said. It will retain the remainder of the four assets.

“This project demonstrates the growing maturity of India’s secondary market for renewables, creating an environment in which private investors have confidence to invest in new greenfield projects that will accelerate the decarbonisation of India’s economy,” said Richard Abel, managing director of UKCI. The India and sub-Saharan Africa-focused platform of the Macquarie-owned GIG agreed its first deal in the country last October.

The projects are expected to seed the EAB’s new fund, which is seeking €30 million, chief executive Daniel Pasternack told Infrastructure Investor. EAB is unsure at this stage whether it will continue fundraising for this vehicle or instead look to launch a larger product targeting the Indian market, he added. The company has planned follow-up investments and is targeting capital from institutions in both Finland and the UK.

While Pasternack said EAB would not get involved in the development of projects, it is flexible on whether to target later-stage greenfield or brownfield investments. EAB is also eyeing the creation of a renewables platform in its domestic market following strong investor demand, Pasternack explained.

EAB was formerly known as Elite Asset Management before changing its name in April after last year’s acquisition of Alfred Berg Finland. The Helsinki-listed fund manager is the exclusive distributor of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s investment products in Finland, through which Pasternack said it has had experience marketing the group’s €700 million infrastructure debt fund.