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Advantage Partners considers sustainability strategy

The Japanese private equity firm has set its sights on Asia’s renewable energy sector with the hiring of a new head of renewables and sustainability.

Japanese mid-market private equity firm Advantage Partners is set to make its mark in the infrastructure space as it expands its reach to include renewable energy.

Following the recent appointment of Keiichi Suzuki as the firm’s new head of renewables and sustainability, the firm’s founder and representative partner Richard Folsom told affiliate title Infrastructure Investor that its decision to establish a renewables and sustainability strategy platform and become active in Asia’s renewable energy sector had been years in the making.

“This is something that we have contemplated and done feasibility studies on over a long period of time,” Folsom said. “As we’ve thought about areas where we would like to increase our exposure and create investment opportunities, and where we see investor appetite in terms of interest to deploy capital, then certainly infrastructure – and, within that, renewable energy – is a space that [came] up quite frequently.

“[Building] up this strategic platform capability is something we want to do that both leverages our existing capabilities and network but also does not detract resources from that.”

Leading the new platform, Suzuki will pursue investment opportunities in renewable energy and related areas in Japan and the wider region. He joins the firm after an almost 30-year career in alternative investments with Mitsubishi Corporation and was previously chief executive of London-based Diamond Generating Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation, specialising in the development and operation of renewable energy assets across Europe and the Middle East.

Folsom said Suzuki’s experience in private equity and infrastructure in Asia and Europe would be an asset to the firm as it considered its next steps within the renewable energy sector.

“[There are] multiple ways we think we can address this space and one would be with a sustainability-focused fund or an infrastructure or renewable energy-focused fund,” he added. “We see room in this space for both the opportunity to invest through fund platforms into various assets [and] the opportunity to be a little bit more flexible in the types of platforms and structures that we utilise to bring in investors to attractive investment opportunities. It won’t be limited to just the typical fund structure.

“[ESG] is transitioning from something that is a necessary cost for companies to actually being a source of profitability and revenue – [the idea] that responsible management of companies can go hand in hand with the financial goals and aspirations of companies [has accelerated over the last year].

“We think we can be very additive to our investors on that front in really identifying interesting investment opportunities that meet both their financial objectives as well as contribute meaningfully to sustainable development goals.”