French institutions back new €500m energy transition fund from Amundi

Fund with industrial partner will have investment capacity of €2bn

French institutional investors – including the €10bn public pension scheme Ircantec – have invested more than €500m in a pioneering green finance fund, seeking to catalyse the country’s “energy transition”.

The equity capital was raised by Europe’s largest fund manager, Amundi, as part of its Amundi Energy Transition (AET), a joint venture with French energy giant EDF.

Cornerstone investment was provided by the European Investment Bank, which invested €50m in the fund, and Credit Agricole Assurances, the insurance arm of the banking group.

The fund will have an investment capacity in excess of €2bn, and aims to invest more than €600m in green projects across France’s “regions and industries” by the end of 2018.

Other investors in the fund include: Crédit Agricole Group Regional Banks (Aquitaine, Touraine-Poitou, Nord-Midi Pyrénées, Ille et Vilaine, Côtes d’Armor), PRO BTP and FGTI (French Compensation Fund for Victims of Acts of Terrorism and other Offenses).

It has already closed five investments with Dalkia, the French provider of energy and heating solutions, to combat climate change through the financing of more than 150 energy transition plants for industrial sites and local authorities.“We are very proud to manage one of the very first green finance funds in France with an experienced industrial partner to support local authorities in their sustainable energy transition” said Matthieu Poisson, CEO of AET.

“Our investment scope has been built around the expectations of local authorities by offering a 25-year commitment and the capacity to make large or small investments. All these factors have helped us to attract investors with experience in energy infrastructure who are particularly well versed in socially responsible investment with a strong local dimension.”

“Investing in local sustainable development projects is an obvious project for the EIB, which has set itself the task of supporting local and regional authorities in their energy transition”, added Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of European Investment Bank.

Amundi was recently critical of the European Commission’s draft proposals to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the MiFID rules that govern investment intermediaries, saying that they risk becoming an “administrative gimmick”.

The €1.4trn manager questioned the “terrible error of timing” in proposing the changes so soon after MiFID came into force.