Helios-managed climate-focused PE fund receives anchor investment

09 Aug 2022

London, United Kingdom:  InfraCo Africa, the African development arm of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), today announced a US$43 million anchor investment into Climate, Energy Access and Resilience (CLEAR), a climate-focused fund advised by Helios Investment Partners (Helios). The design of the CLEAR Fund was refined and realised by PIDG and InfraCo Africa through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s ‘MOBILIST’ Sustainable Infrastructure Competition. MOBILIST supports investment solutions looking to list on global or local stock exchanges that help emerging and frontier markets spur progress towards UN Global Goals and deliver the climate transition.

During the COP26 summit held in November 2021, the UK government renewed their commitment to PIDG and announced their support for the CLEAR Fund, and its intention to list its assets on a major stock exchange in due course, through the MOBILIST programme. Today’s announcements follow on from this commitment to address a growing demand from domestic and international investors for sustainable investment opportunities across Africa. Drawing on PIDG and Helios’ distinctive blend of private sector development and investment expertise, and track record of delivering impact in Africa, CLEAR will fund climate-aligned assets and growth opportunities whilst also contributing towards achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes highlighted the strength of the partnership saying: “By working alongside Helios to design the CLEAR Fund, we have brought together Helios’ deep expertise of fund management and generating growth with our proven track record in developing greenfield infrastructure in frontier markets, with a strong focus on development impact. The result of this collaboration is an innovative fund which addresses today’s global challenges around climate change and the need for transparent, sustainable investment opportunities. CLEAR also offers a new opportunity for African infrastructure developers, such as ourselves, to either sell down equity and recycle development funding or to secure a credible partner to support future growth. CLEAR provides a missing piece of the puzzle and one which will be critically important if we are to accelerate action on climate change whilst also closing the infrastructure gap in Africa.

CLEAR Chair, Diana Fox Carney, commented saying: “The race is on to identify solutions that will help us meet the enormous climate challenge that we face – including adapting to a changed climate. Working at the interface of the public and private sectors, the CLEAR Fund will play a key role in mobilising capital for Africa’s low carbon development pathway. Many low carbon technologies have now reached a level of maturity that makes them not just cleaner, but also cheaper and more reliable than the traditional alternatives. This is a win for Africa, a win for investors, and a win for the world.”

CLEAR Co-Head, Tavraj Banga, elaborated by saying: “We are delighted to have InfraCo Africa and MOBILIST as our anchor investors; two organizations committed to our goal of accelerating Africa’s role in the transition to global net zero.  CLEAR will leverage Helios’ two decades of experience of successfully investing in Africa to identify and develop best-in-class climate solutions. We will focus on investments that enable emissions to be decoupled from economic growth, while helping build adaptive capacity to allow the population to cope with the risks of climate change – improving the health and lives of Africans.”

Ross Ferguson, MOBILIST Lead, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, commented: “Collaboration between development finance institutions and the private sector is critical to directing investment towards sustainable development and the climate transition in emerging and frontier markets. The partnerships behind CLEAR Fund show how public sector finance can work effectively with the private sector to ‘exit’ their investments, to create the conditions for listing and mobilise private capital into African economies.”

Philippe Valahu, CEO of PIDG, concluded by saying: “By acting as an anchor investor for the CLEAR Fund, PIDG through InfraCo Africa is delivering on our climate commitments” He continued, “PIDG was established to mobilise private sector investment into sustainable and inclusive infrastructure. The CLEAR Fund will support our efforts to achieve this at scale, providing a complementary route for investors to channel finance into high-quality, climate-resilient infrastructure on the continent.”  

In developing CLEAR, Helios and InfraCo Africa have benefited from the support of ThirdWay Partners, an impact focused investment advisory firm.

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