Responsible Funds, April 25: Africa Climate Change Fund set up by development bank

The round-up of responsible funds news

The board of the African Development Bank has approved the creation of the Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF), a bilateral thematic trust fund to support African countries in their transition to climate-resilient and low-carbon development. The AfDB will host and manage the ACCF, which was created with a €4.7m contribution from Germany for an initial three-year period. The aim is to scale-up to a multi-donor trust fund as soon as at least one new donor commits to join.

The A$311m (€209m) Australian Ethical Smaller Companies Trust rose 0.5% over the month of March, according to the fund firm. The fund, managed by Portfolio Manager Andy Gracey, outperformed its benchmark index, the ASX/S&P Small Industrials Index, by 0.4%. One driver was the performance of Mighty River Power, which generates over 90% of its electricity from hydroelectric and geothermal sources in New Zealand. “The renewable energy generator’s share price has been recovering as investors see increasing certainty of the incumbent National Party being re-elected in New Zealand’s September general election,” said Gracey in a commentary.

Phaunos Timber Fund, the London-listed timber investor, has reported that its loss for the year to the end of 2013 has widened to $55.5m from $43.2m a year earlier. Net asset value slipped to $419m from $488.4m and Phaunos is not paying a dividend. A driver of the loss were non-recurring items totalling $6.5m which includes the termination of the investment management arrangement with FourWinds Capital Management and restructuring costs of $5.5m. Link

Impax New Energy Investors II has completed the acquisition of the 51MW Kuolavaara-Keulakkopää wind park in Finland, its second project acquired from Fortum and Metsähallitus. And Impax has announced that it has closed the project financing of the 27MW Joukhaisselkä wind park with banking group SEB. Impax NEF II had its final close in August 2011 and has €330m committed to the renewable energy sector. Link*Norwegian impact investor NMI Fund* III KS, which is backed by development finance institution Norfund and financial services groups DNB, KLP and Storebrand, has invested the equivalent of around $4.7m in India’s Satin Creditcare Network Ltd. New Delhi-based Satin is the largest North India-based microfinance institution and Unitus Capital was the sole financial advisor to the transaction. Satin’s current institutional investors include ShoreCap II Ltd. (managed by Equator Capital Partners), Danish Microfinance Partners K/S and M V Mauritius Limited.

Swiss microfinance specialist responsAbility says considerable investor inflows since the end of 2012 means it now has $2bn (€1.44bn) in assets under management. Inflows over the past 15 months totalled $580m, with institutional clients accounting for about one-third of them. The firm also said that of its total AUM, $1.6bn was invested in 318 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 67 countries. Sustainable agriculture investments accounted for another $114m. Link

Rhein Asset Management, the Dusseldorf-based boutique, has launched a new stock index comprising what are deemed the 30 most ethical listed companies from Germany’s three best-known indices (the large-cap DAX, the mid-cap MDAX and tech-heavy TecDAX). For the Ethik 30 Aktienindex, Rhein relies on rankings from oekom, the Munich-based ESG research firm as well as an expert panel. That panel includes two religious officials, a sustainable finance expert from a business school near Frankfurt and Andreas Kretschmer, chief executive of Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe, a €9.2bn pension fund for doctors. Included would be BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. Rhein also plans to launch a Luxembourg-domiciled fund based on the index next month. Link

Foresight Solar Fund Ltd., the London-listed solar investor, says the addition of a further 16MW of capacity has taken its total operating capacity to 100MW. Foresight is a Jersey-registered closed-end investment company which invests in ground based UK solar power assets. It raised £150m via an initial public offering in October 2013.