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Responsible Funds, October 18: Triodos, UBS, Calvert, Carlyle, Environmental Technologies Fund

The round-up of responsible funds news

Triodos Investment Management, the €2.4bn Dutch-based impact investment and SRI fund manager, says it aims to raise €30m by the end of November into a novel new impact private equity fund where investors can exit on a quarterly basis rather than being locked in for the duration of the fund. Speaking to RI, Marilou van Golstein Brouwers, Managing Director, said the fund, which invests in leading later-stage organic food and sustainable lifestyle businesses across Europe, was unique in allowing investors to sell out, but also because it acts as an ‘evergreen’ vehicle without a specific time horizon for investment exits, making it very long-term in focus. The fund, which is structured as a Luxembourg–based Sicav II, is being initially marketed to institutional, professional and qualified investors, although Van Golstein Brouwers says it anticipates making the fund available for private investors at a later stage.

The Calvert Water Fund posted a “very strong” 9.01% gain for the quarter ended September 30, though it underperformed its benchmark, the S-Network Global Water Index (11.19%), according to a new portfolio commentary. Major holdings at the fund, run by Catherine Ryan and Matthew Sheldon at Kleinwort Benson Investors, include Sulzer (4.98% of assets), Sabesp (6.19%) and Suez Environnement (5.19%).

Private equity firm Carlyle has raised $591.9m for its new Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund Ltd., according to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Launched in 2011, the Mauritius-incorporated vehicle has a focus on South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and Uganda. A total of 61 investors participated, the filing added.

Alliance Trust Investments says the SRI funds it acquired from Aviva Investors are “performing well”. It said of the more than £1.4bn (€1.6bn) family: “It is a year on since the Sustainable Future fund team joined Alliance Trust Investments and overall the Sustainable Future funds are performing well.” Six out of the seven have outperformed their mainstream peer group average over six months, two years and three years. Alliance Trust is currently running a UK-wide road show to “dispel all the myths that have been commonly associated with SRI”. Link*Swiss banking giant UBS says it has set up and closed a CHF50m* (€40.5m) impact investing private equity fund for SMEs in emerging and frontier markets – adding it is the first bank in the industry to do so. It said: “The fund represents a unique investment opportunity and will generate significant social and environmental impact.” The Impact Investing SME Focus Fund is a fund of funds, managed by OBVIAM, the investment advisor that was spun out of the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM). Investments will be made in sectors and businesses that drive social or environmental change such as healthcare, education, access to finance, basic infrastructure and agricultural/sustainable forestry. Link

Reboot Ventures, a venture capital company aiming to help ex-military personnel to grow businesses, has reportedly started fundraising. The Daily Telegraph, citing founder and former soldier Stuart Nichol, said it’s hoping to raise £20m by April. “Reboot Ventures is about making a social and commercial impact,” he told the paper. “We want to change the world and make a good return through making the military a strong part of society.”

Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd. has agreed to buy its fourth UK large-scale solar plant, an Oxfordshire-based facility, for £17m from developer Solarcentury. It takes the fund’s total commitments to £55.3m. Bluefield is a new Guernsey-registered investment fund focusing which raised £130m in July 2013 via a listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. It added it has agreed terms on a further three large scale sites that will take it to over 75% committed.

Environmental Technologies Fund, the London-based cleantech investor, has announced the first closing of its second fund at £60m. It said investors included several existing investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF) and a “number of leading European pension funds, financial institutions, corporate investors and family offices”. There were also “considerable” additional indications of interest and it anticipates further closings in the coming months.