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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   30 August 2013  
Armstrong Fund raises $130 million at third closing

IFC Catalyst Fund, FMO and SIFEM commit to the Armstrong Clean Energy South East Asia Fund

IFC Catalyst Fund, FMO, and SIFEM, have signed agreements to commit to the Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund (‘Armstrong Fund’). The third closing brings the fund size to $130 million. The Armstrong Fund is a private equity fund that invests in small-scale renewable energy and resource efficiency projects in Southeast Asia.

IFC Catalyst Fund is a fund of funds investment program focused on funds investing in innovative ways to address climate change in emerging markets. The IFC Catalyst Fund is managed by IFC Asset Management Company LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and the largest multilateral organization focused on private sector development in across emerging markets.

In addition to the IFC Catalyst Fund commitment of $20 million, earlier in May this year, IFC approved a commitment in the Armstrong Fund of US$20 million, which was the first investment by IFC in a private equity fund dedicated to clean energy in Southeast Asia.

“We are excited to partner with the Armstrong Fund,” said Reyaz Ahmad, the Head of the IFC Catalyst Fund. “The capital, expertise, and innovation they will bring to clean energy in Southeast Asia exemplifies the role private equity can play in helping to address climate change while generating financial returns.”

FMO, also known as the Netherlands Development Finance Company, is investing for the first time in the Armstrong Fund. “FMO is proud to invest in the Armstrong Clean Energy Fund. The fund will invest in small-scale renewable assets in South East Asia which will change the energy matrix into a cleaner and more sustainable one. We are pleased to work with investors who are committed to clean energy and energy and resource efficiency,” said Jurgen Rigterink, CIO of FMO.

Another investor in time for the Armstrong Fund third closing is Obviam, on behalf of the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM). The independent investment advisor specialises in long-term investments in emerging and frontier markets, on behalf of public, institutional, and private clients, including SIFEM, the Development Finance Institution (DFI) of the Swiss Confederation.

“Obviam is looking forward to a long term partnership with Armstrong, who offers a unique blend of in-depth Renewable Energy and South East Asia investment experience. We expect the Fund to a play an important role in fostering the application of Clean and Renewable energies in the region, working towards minimizing fossil fuel based dependence,” said Claude Barras, CEO of Obviam.

“The Armstrong team will work with our investee companies to adopt best practices that adhere to IFC's environmental and social performance standards, in addition to delivering the projected financial returns. As part of our obligations to all investors, we will also be reporting on the underlying environment impact, including clean energy generated, and other developmental impact, such as support for local small and medium enterprises,” said Andrew Affleck, managing partner, Armstrong Asset Management.

The Armstrong Fund has a unique focus of providing development capital to smaller-scale renewable energy and resource efficiency projects in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets. On 16 August, the Armstrong Fund announced its commitment of up to $30 million to finance an initial pipeline of solar photovoltaic (PV) and biogas power projects, developed by Annex Power, in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. In May, the Fund announced its first investment in the development and construction of a 30 MW portfolio of solar projects in Thailand, alongside Hong Kong-based energy company, Symbior Energy.

Prior to IFC’s commitment in May 2013, earlier commitments at the initial close of the Armstrong Fund in August 2012, totaling US$65 million, had come from two European development finance institutions GEEREF and DEG; and an Asian-based corporation. The 10-year Armstrong Fund expects to make a total of between 10 to 15 investments, each ranging from US$5 million to US$12 million. Projects of a typical size would generate up to 10 MW from renewable energy resources of solar, hydro, wind or biogas.

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