Responsible Funds, April 11: Meyer Memorial Trust, PIP, AfricInvest, John Laing

The latest responsible funds news

Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT), the US foundation, has created Invest Oregon, an initiative to redirect a portion of its $800m in assets to investments in Oregon and Southwest Washington. MMT has selected Threshold Group, a Pacific Northwest‐based investment advisory firm, to research investment opportunities in the region with the greatest potential for social, environmental, and regional economic impact. Initial investments through Invest Oregon were made in September 2013 in the Portland Seed Fund and Ecotrust Forest Management. Investments are expected to range from $100,000-$2m.

AfricInvest Group, a private equity firm covering North and sub-Saharan Africa with over $750m under management, has reportedly announced the third and final closing of its AfricInvest Financial Sector (AAFS) fund, with limited partner commitments reaching €60.6m. New commitments came from Germany’s KfW, Belgium’s BIO, the Desjardins Group of Canada, and the Adolf H. Lundin Charitable Foundation, according to industry site Mirofinance Gateway. The fund was launched in 2007 with €20m from Dutch development body the FMO.

John Laing Environmental Assets Group Ltd. (JLEN), the newly listed environmental infrastructure investor, has completed the acquisitions of the Amber Solar, Castle Pill & Ferndale Wind and Bilsthorpe Wind projects from building firm John Laing Group. It follows the acquisitions of the Dumfries & Galloway Waste, Hall Farm Wind and Tay Wastewater Projects announced earlier this month. JLEN joined the London Stock Exchange at the end of March.

A new Energy ‘Catalyst’ fund to support innovative UK companies and researchers in developing early-stage innovations into commercial successes has been launched with an initial £25m. It funded by the Technology Strategy Board, along with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.The new UK pension fund-backed Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP) fund has made its first investment – in a firm which invests in private finance initiative (PFI) projects. PIP has teamed up with infrastructure firm Dalmore to buy a 49.9% stake in Interserve PFI Holding 2014 Ltd., which is being sold by Interserve Trustees Ltd., the pension fund of the support services firm of the same name. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. PIP is owned by trade body the National Association of Pension Funds, with investors including British Airways Pensions, Lloyds TSB, Pension Protection Fund, Railways Pension Scheme, Strathclyde Pension Fund and West Midlands Pension Fund. Three of the original founding investors (London Pension Fund Authority, BAE and BT Pension Scheme) have dropped out, the NAPF said.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering a €15m investment in the Africa Renewable Energy Fund, which is managed by Mauritius-based Africa Renewable Energy and Berkeley Energy Africa Ltd. The fund is a closed-end private equity fund targeting equity and quasi-equity investments in renewable energy projects across sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). The fund plans to focus on small hydro, wind and solar projects, whilst remaining “open to opportunities” in geothermal, stranded gas and captive biomass technologies.

The EIB is also appraising a €49m loan for an affordable housing project in London. The funding would go to the Gascoigne housing estate redevelopment and regeneration in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It will involve the demolition and redevelopment of the housing estate area dating from the 1960s.

Impax Asset Management Group, the AIM-listed investment manager focused on environmental markets, has announced that its total assets under management have grown to £2.55bn – up from $2.4bn at the end of 2013. There were net inflows of £105m.