Mirova buys Africa, Asia solar energy financier SunFunder to launch $500 mn fund

 Mirova buys Africa, Asia solar energy financier SunFunder to launch $500 mn fund

Mirova, an impact investment asset management unit of Natixis, is acquiring SunFunder, a private debt management company that finances renewable energy projects in Africa and Asia, to develop an emerging markets investment platform.

Mirova and SunFunder’s first objective is to launch a solar energy debt financing fund, with an investment corpus of $500 million through about 70 projects spread over Africa, Asia and Latin America. The first closing could take place by the end of the year.

The new fund would boost the AUM of Mirova and its subsidiaries that currently manage €27 billion of assets as of March 31, 2022, including €2.2 billion in energy transition infrastructure.

SunFunder was founded 10 years ago as a crowdfunding platform. Its main objective was to offer financing solutions for the decentralised solar energy sector in Africa, in order to achieve direct impact at the intersection of climate change and inequality.

Since then, the company has launched a series of blended finance investment vehicles and closed over $165 million in investments across 58 companies deploying clean energy mainly in Africa and Asia. These include off-grid solar home systems in Malawi, village mini-grid projects in Kenya, and commercial and industrial rooftop installations in Nigeria and Thailand.

Last year, SunFunder said its Solar Energy Transformation Fund was oversubscribed at $70 million.

It says it has helped improve access to solar energy for more than ten million people, predominantly in East and West Africa, before extending its expertise to other emerging markets, including Southeast Asia.

SunFunder has a team of 38 people of 16 different nationalities, 55% of whom are women and 45% of whom are African, mainly based in Nairobi, Paris and London.

The firm would sync with Mirova, a key player in impact investing in Europe through its investment strategies in energy transition infrastructure, private equity, social impact investing and listed equities.

Audrey Desirato and Ryan Levinson, co-founders of SunFunder, said: “Together we become the leading clean energy and climate investor in emerging markets, through bold new investments with real impact.”

“This acquisition is an important step for our affiliate Mirova, which falls in with our 2024 strategic plan, and contributes to strengthening Natixis Investment Managers’ private and alternative asset offering. Our clients around the world looking for diversification and sustainable sources of return will now have easier access to impact investments in emerging markets,” said Tim Ryan, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers.

Vivek Sinha

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