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Clean Investor, March 29: Impax sets up US subsidiary

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Impax Asset Management, the specialist environmental investment manager with $3.5bn under management, has set up a US subsidiary called Impax Asset Management (US) LLC in response to rising interest from US institutional investors, investment advisors and consultants. It has hired Ken Locklin, former Director of Finance and Investment at Clean Energy Group, as Managing Director.

North America could become the dominant renewables market within three years, as it moves to increasing levels of energy efficiency, according to PwC. In its annual analysis of renewables M&A transactions globally, PwC reports that volumes were up, but overall values were down to $33.4bn (2009: $48.8bn). In 2010, North America bounced back to almost match deal values in Europe in 2010, with close to $13bn spent on 181 deals. European M&A deals were increasingly being hampered by regulatory changes. Link

The first meeting of delegates from 40 nations to develop the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries cope with climate change agreed at last year’s Cancun meeting will be held in late April, according to officials. The meeting will be held in Mexico City on April 28-29. Developed countries have pledged to finance $100bn a year in climate aid for poor countries by 2020.

Dutch bank ING says its sustainable assets under management increased by 5% from € 2bn in 2009 to €2.12bn at the end of 2010. It said in its new annual report|shm|agm: “Following our clients’ increased appetite for the renewable sector, ING’s investment in energy projects related to renewable sources increased exponentially from 2005 to 2010.”

Ludgate Environmental Fund Ltd., the cleantech investor, has announced a full exit from Luxembourg-based biogas firm agri.capital, its first major exit since it launched in 2007. LEF will realise a cash return of €16.3m after investing a total of €11.3m since October 2008.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse says in its new Corporate Responsibility Report that its cleantech practice has committed roughly CHF440m (€339m) to solar, wind, water, materials and related companies. And its private equity arm’s Customized Fund Investment Group has nearly CHF625m of client commitments for investments in clean technology, “making it one of the largest participants in the sector”.

Meanwhile, the Credit Suisse Real Estate Fund Green Property is carrying out a capital increase of CHF309m from April 4-15. Link*The Nordic Investment Bank* has signed a 16.5-year-maturity loan for a 46MW wind farm in northern Sweden with developer Gabrielsberget Syd Vind AB. The wind farm will comprise of 20 wind turbines and commercial operation is planned from July.
The NIB has also loaned €50m to Finland’s Neste Oil Corporation to help finance research into new sustainable raw material alternatives for renewable diesel production.

The Climate Bonds Initiative, a special project of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, has issued a draft climate bonds standard for public comment until 15 April 2011. The aim of the scheme is to provide a means for investors and governments to assess the integrity of green and climate bonds. The standard will then be redrafted to address comments made and released for use by prospective issuers. Link to draft standard

Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine maker, held its annual general meeting this week and announced that it will not distribute a dividend to investors for 2010. It generally aims to pay a dividend of 25-30% per cent of the net result of the year.

The market value of the world’s wind power market is expected to grow to €111.7bn in 2015 from €66.8bn in 2011, according to the International Wind Energy Development – World Update 2010 report from BTM Consult. Wind power is expected to deliver almost 2% of the world’s electricity in 2011 and meet 9.1% of the world’s electricity demands by 2020, it adds.

A $40.2m bond backed by revenues from landfill-derived biomethane gas is being issued by a subsidiary of US natural gas firm Clean Energy Fuels Corp. Its Dallas Clean Energy arm operates the McCommas Bluff site, the third largest landfill gas operation in the US. It’s estimated that “pipeline quality” biomethane will continue to be produced for some 30 years after the landfill closes. Link

Crédit Agricole Private Equity is investing in Belgium-based rooftop solar firm Ikaros Solar through its FCPR Capenergie 2 fund. Ikaros designs and creates “turnkey” solar power plants on the roofs of mainly industrial and commercial buildings and is a market leader in big photovoltaic roof installations in Belgium. It’s the 18th investment made by Crédit Agricole Private Equity’s Renewable Energy team in less than five years. Announcement