Meridiam enters electric vehicle charging space

The French fund manager is acquiring Allego from Dutch electricity utility Alliander.

Meridiam has agreed to acquire Allego, an independent electric vehicle charging solution provider from Dutch electricity utility Alliander.

The Paris-based fund manager did not disclose the amount invested, but a spokeswoman for the firm told Infrastructure Investor it is financing the transaction through the Meridiam Transition fund, a vehicle that closed in July 2016 on €485 million.

Asked how this latest acquisition fits in to Meridiam’s infrastructure mandate, Meridiam partner and director of corporate development Julien Touati replied: “This is completely an infrastructure investment from our perspective. Our focus is on charging infrastructure and acquiring Allego will help us [in] supporting the pan-European electrical vehicle charging infrastructure roll-out.

“For fast-charge, for instance, the business model is close to [a] traffic (with risk-sharing mechanisms which can be implemented) model that are applied for traditional infrastructure projects,” he said. “We see Allego as a collection of local concessions (e.g. Berlin or Amsterdam), contracted activities for large corporates (e.g. multiannual contracts passed with several retailers and leading leasing companies) and the Mega-E project.”

The Mega-E [Metropolitan Greater Areas Electrified] project, which Meridiam said it will continue to develop with Allego, is backed by the European Commission. It aims to deploy 322 ultra-fast charging locations including 39 multimodal smart-charging hubs in at least 10 European metropolitan areas.

Allego’s management team will remain in place, since “it is part of [the company’s] value and we do not intend to change it”, Meridiam’s spokeswoman said.

According to Meridiam, the electric vehicle market is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decade – accounting for 30 to 40 percent of new car sales in Europe by 2030.

Meridiam launched its transition fund in November 2015 in partnership with the largest French insurers, in the context of the Paris Climate Change Summit, COP21. The fund mainly targets development projects related to energy efficiency, local energy supply, smart grids and innovative renewable energies.

Investments through the fund include backing the development of a 3.6MW cogeneration plant in France’s Mayenne region and investing nearly €30 million in European biogas specialist Evergaz, with a view to developing and operating 30 biogas plants in Europe by 2020.