Clean Investor, February 8: Alberta fund giant makes massive forestry move

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

The Alberta Investment Management Corp., which manages around $71bn (€53.1bn) for Alberta’s pensions, endowments and government funds, has made a major investment in Australian forestry. With its partner Australia New Zealand Forest Fund, it has bought over 2,500 square kilometres in six Australian states for AU$415m (€310.6m). Announcement

Norges Bank Investment Management has disclosed a 5.08% stake in California-based solar electric systems company SunPower Corp. In December, SunPower announced that it had closed its €195.2m solar bond issuance associated with a 44MW solar park in Italy – claimed to be the world’s first publicly rated bond issue for a solar project. Filing

Hedge fund gurus Daniel Loeb and David Einhorn have bought into a rights issue by US ethanol producer Biofuel Energy Corp. Their Third Point and Greenlight Capital funds participated in the $46m placing. The company aims to “become a leading ethanol producer in the US”. Release

The CIS Sustainable Leaders Trust, the £300.5m (€357m) fund run by the UK’s Co-operative Investments, says it will remain underweight commodities “due to environmental concerns over the extraction process” – although it will consider areas such as platinum which have environmental and social benefits which could replicate the broader sector. Factsheet

The World Bank’s IFC has launched a fund of up to €150m to purchase carbon credits to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, extend carbon markets, and increase access to finance for projects that promote environmentally friendly economic growth. Mercuria Energy and Shell Trading have committed to the facility as anchor investors.

Prudential Financial Inc., the US finance giant with $750bn in assets under management, has disclosed a 12.6% stake in Cayman Islands-registered China Hydroelectric Corp. CHC owns, operates and develops small hydroelectric power projects in the People’s Republic of China, led by an international management team. Filing*The C$131.6bn (€98.5bn)* Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the manager of Quebec’s public pension assets, has made two natural gas investments recently. It has raised its stake in Gaz Métro, Quebec’s natural gas distributor which also sells drinking and wastewater systems, urban heating plants and wind energy. The Caisse has also taken a 10% stake in European gas firm Fluxys G. Link

Green bonds could provide an estimated €1.4trn of capital for low carbon technology in Europe between 2011 and 2020, accoding to a new report from Barclays and Accenture. Carbon Capital: Financing the low carbon economy found the bonds could be “the largest single financing instrument” for low carbon technology and provide new products for pension funds, individual and other institutional investors.

Credit Suisse says its asset management division plans to launch a new issue of its Green Property Real Estate Fund at the end of March or the beginning of April. Further details will be available nearer the time. Link

Ludgate Environmental Fund Ltd., the listed cleantech fund, says it will be looking to “diversify and exploit” its biogas investments in the UK and Europe. Chairman John Shakeshaft said investment in the second half of 2010 was hit by a lack of opportunities and “the intensity of investment management involvement”. Total assets at year-end rose to £55.7m from £47.9m a year before. Announcement

Institutional investors are getting more interested in water and carbon management, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The CDP says a record number of investors supported its 2011 requests for climate change and water information which have been sent to the world’s largest companies.

New Jersey-based solar development and financing consultant Anova Energy Solutions has opened its second renewable energy private equity fund, Meridian Solar Partners II. It aims to raise up to $10m in a combination of private equity and debt to continue its development of rooftop and ground based solar photovoltaic systems. Release