Responsible Funds, May 28: Renewable ‘YieldCo’ exchange traded fund launched

The round-up of responsible funds

Global X, a New York-based provider of exchange traded funds (ETFs), has launched an ETF derived from so-called YieldCos that will be traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange. YieldCos are formed when energy companies spin off renewable assets like wind and solar farms. Said Jay Jacobs, Research Analyst at Global X: “YieldCos are an emerging asset class that meets many of the key investment characteristics investors are looking for, including high current income, low volatility and the opportunity for dividend growth.” According to Global X, the market capitalisation for YieldCos has reached $39bn.

SolarCity, the California-based solar power firm, has partnered with Bank of America (BoA) to create a fund that aims to take in $200m in assets from smaller US investors like regional banks and small businesses. Speaking to Reuters, SolarCity Chief Executive Lyndon Rive said BoA would act as the administrator of the fund and provide any additional capital to get to the target. The money is to be invested in the purchase and installation of solar equipment. Said Rive: “We will deploy that $200m over the next year, but my goal is to get that to become multiple billions.”

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada have teamed up with Spain’s Banco Santander to launch a new renewable investment firm based in London. The new firm is called Cubico Sustainable Investments and each of the three partners will have an equal share in the venture. Cubico starts with a portfolio of 19 wind, solar and water infrastructure assets from Santander that have a combined value of $2bn (€1.8bn) and a total capacity of 1.4GW. Cubico is led by Santander’s former Asset & Capital Structuring (A&CS) team of 30 professionals. The firm’s Chief Executive is Marcos Sebares, who was team leader at A&CS. Announcement

Index and ESG firm MSCI has launched MSCI ESG Ratings, which is “designed to support institutional investors’ growing ESG integration, manager reporting, engagement and portfolio monitoring needs”. The tool provides a range of features designed to improve the ability of the front office to integrate ESG factors into existing investment processes, including: expanded governance data; more risk metrics, 65,000 individual director profiles and daily monitoring of ESG controversies and governance events. It covers more than 5,700 equities and 350,000 fixed income securities.Aquila Capital, the Hamburg-based infrastructure investment firm, says
it has acquired six solar parks in France with a combined capacity of 57MW. Financial details were not disclosed. Aquila said the parks were located in the southwestern region of Aquitaine and offered an attractive feed-in tariff equalling just above €0.11 per kilowatt hour. The firm now owns a total of 170MW of photovoltaic capacity in France. Aquila runs €8.4bn in assets from international investors.

UK-based renewable energy investor Low Carbon has announced the completion of its £106m refinancing deal with Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions for part of its existing portfolio of 12 operational UK solar parks. The refinancing package includes a combination of inflation-linked and fixed-rate debt.

The Pope has reportedly rejected the idea of setting up a Luxembourg-domiciled fund put forward by the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). Vatican Insider reported the proposal was for the formation of a SICAV to manage deposits. But the idea – from the IOR’s president, former Invesco executive Jean-Baptiste de Franssu – was vetoed by Pope Francis, it said.

Forestry investment firm Stafford Capital Partners has announced a final close on Stafford International Timberland VII Fund of $484m from investors in the UK, Europe and Australia – topping a targeted $400m. The new fund of funds offering will acquire secondary positions in existing timberland funds as well as invest in primary timberland funds and co-investments. Link

Foresight Solar Fund, the London-listed solar infrastructure vehicle, has announced the placing price for its new capital raising. On May 18, it announced its intention to raise additional capital via a new placing and today (May 28) said the placing is set at 102.7 pence per new share – equal to the net asset value per share plus a 1.75% premium. Foresight has a 233MW, 10 asset portfolio that is fully operational.

Ontario has launched Canada’s first impact investment angel fund. The initiative, launched in partnership with the Network of Angel Organisations-Ontario, will encourage more investors to seed social ventures. “We want to encourage investors to target businesses that focus on achieving more than just profits,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.