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Fortis Investments sees strong demand for clean energy infrastructure

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Fortis Investments has attracted EUR158m to its clean energy infra fund from several institutional investors, reflecting keen interest in environmental infrastructure strategies.

The clean energy infra fund has received a significant cornerstone commitment from PGGM, acting on behalf of Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, and an investment from Pensioenfonds Grafische Bedrijven in the Netherlands. It also has investors from Japan and Belgium.

BNP Paribas Fortis (formerly Fortis Bank) is the fund’s founding investor, with an investment of EUR50m.

Launched in September 2008, the clean energy infra fund aims to achieve a solid risk return profile by securing assets with underwritten cash flows and the potential for capital enhancement during its lifespan. It focuses on the proven clean energy technologies of onshore wind, small-scale hydro, solar photovoltaic and biomass. It is among the first infrastructure vehicles to focus on renewables from across Europe.

The fund draws on the experience and contacts of four experienced investment professionals. The London-based team of Joost Bergsma (chief executive), David Millan (chief financial officer and investment director), Peter Dickson (technical director) and Scott Lawrence (investment director) brings with it significant expertise in renewables and finance. The team has built a significant pipeline of investments in France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Bergsma says: “We are delighted to have achieved this important milestone with such experienced investors in a difficult fund-raising environment. The sector continues to offer attractively-priced opportunities with a good risk-return profile – investment opportunities are underpinned by stable long-term cash flow and benefit from strong government legislation.”

Nicolas Ribes, head of alternative sales adds: “Investors recognise that the clean energy team has deep knowledge of the sector, making the fund an attractive option for renewable energy investments. The fund will remain open for further subscriptions and we expect to reach our final target size of EUR450m quickly.”

The team is counselled on new developments in the field of clean energy by two non-executive experts: Dr John Roberts, former chief executive of United Utilities in the UK, and Willy Bosmans, former chief executive of Belgian utility Electrabel and of gas utility Distrigas.

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