New €750m RAISE transition fund led by poached EDF team

Fanny Grillo and Pierre Benoist d’Anthenay, fresh from EDF Invest, tell us about their plans for the new decarbonisation strategy.

Paris-based and sustainability-focused RAISE is taking its game to infrastructure with a new fund and a new team.

The 10-year RAISE Infrastructure fund will focus on helping decarbonise energy, transportation and digital European assets. It is targeting €750 million with no set hard-cap yet. LPs in the new vehicle could include large companies alongside institutional investors.

Jointly heading the new strategy are Fanny Grillo and Pierre Benoist d’Anthenay, both formerly – and until very recently – of EDF Invest. Benoist d’Anthenay left a position as head of EDF Invest, which has €9 billion-plus in AUM, in March. Romain Meiller, the new team’s investment director, has also departed a position at EDF Invest.

“This is a new fund with a proven team,” said Grillo. “We have a strong conviction that the time for transition is now and that there is value to unlock in helping companies to decarbonise.”

One of the ways to do that is to look at the whole supply chain, Grillo explained. “Sometimes, big industrials looking to transform forget to consider their supply chain. We will support the transformation of the supply chain too.”

The new fund looks to invest €40 million to €80 million in each portfolio company.

Green capex

The fund is targeting “low double-digit returns”, said Grillo, but neither she nor Benoist d’Anthenay were keen to be drawn on where the fund fits on the usual super-core to value-add spectrum.

“We target resilience, non-volatility and some yield – the usual infrastructure characteristics – and we strongly believe that to have a competitive advantage later, you need to undertake green capex now,” argued Benoist d’Anthenay.

The fund is Article 8 under the EU’s SFDR framework, as “being Article 9 will not allow us to be transformational”, he said. “We need to be quicker about decarbonisation. €28 trillion of new capex is needed in Europe alone ahead of 2050, and, with humility, we will play our part in addressing climate change within the infrastructure market.”

So far, the LP interest is primarily European, and most of the fund’s investments are likely to be European too.

“We came from industry and work with industry in mind, so we’ve done transformations before, and we have the tools and the mindset to help companies decarbonise,” said Benoist d’Anthenay. “There are good vibes in leveraging our knowledge to help the industry transform.”

On the move away from EDF, Benoist d’Anthenay said: “We did transformational investing for EDF. Also, EDF is one group, one customer, and at RAISE, we can work for more customers and help infrastructure companies to contribute to a better world”.

RAISE was launched in 2013 with a sustainable finance focus. RAISE Infrastructure is the company’s fifth private equity strategy. With €1.9 billion in AUM, RAISE donates half of the carried interest to its philanthropic endowment fund.

RAISE’s commitment to gender parity means that each of its funds has a male and female co-head.