French fund manager Omnes Capital has reached a €380 million first close on Capenergie 4, the latest instalment of its renewable energy fund series.
The first close of the fund, targeting €500 million, was achieved following the vehicle’s launch in September and in addition to commitments from French investors, has also received backing from investors in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Morocco, Serge Savasta, managing partner at Omnes Capital, told Infrastructure Investor. It also received a €75 million injection from the European Investment Bank, €30 million more than what EIB had invested in Capenergie 3, which closed on €245 million in 2017.
Omnes will continue to deploy its strategy of partnering with mid-sized European developers, although Savasta said these companies are allowed a limited exposure outside the continent. However, Savasta pointed to a slight shift in the composition of the portfolio compared with the previous fund, which was tilted more towards onshore wind.
“The real shift in Europe is the acceleration of solar, which offers a lot of opportunities,” Savasta explained. “In 2015, when we launched Capenergie 3, that was not the case as much. Solar has been more expensive for a number of years and was not a technology which allowed you to work without subsidies. It is now totally competitive.”
In this vein, Capenergie 4 has already made its first investment, with Omnes paying €30 million for a minority stake in Denmark-based solar company Better Energy, which is planning utility-scale projects in both Denmark and Poland.
“We are now in the process of scaling up from a project developer and engineering, procurement and construction [company] to an independent power producer,” said Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær, chief executive of Better Energy.
It’s this strategy that Savasta believes can set apart Omnes from other renewable energy funds, such as Glennmont Partners (€850 million) and Mirova (€857 million), which last year broke the record for the largest European renewable energy funds.
“What I sensed during this fundraising is the institutional investors like more and more this strategy of helping mid-sized companies in the sector and not only brownfield long-term assets,” he added.
Omnes last year revealed that its Capenergie 2 vehicle had generated investors a 15 percent net IRR and a net multiple of 2 times. The fund series targets gross and net IRRs of 12 and 10 percent, respectively.