Ambienta, an early mover in environmentally sustainable private equity investing, has held a first close on its debut private credit fund, Ambienta Sustainable Credit Opportunities, the firm announced Thursday.
The firm has raised around half of its €500 million target for the fund, which was launched last year in what Laurent de Rosière, Ambienta’s investor relations head, described as “one of the most challenging markets we have seen since the Global Financial Crisis” for private markets fundraising. “Which is why we are incredibly pleased with the momentum so far,” he told New Private Markets, noting that the firm received support from from existing Ambienta LPs and “a number of new investors in the US and Europe”.
Ambienta already has an established private equity fund line (the most recent fund closed on €1.55 billion in 2022) as well as a public equities business. Private credit is “an add-on strategy that investors have been asking Ambienta for for years”, said de Rosière.
The firm declined to name any of the investors in the first close, although it is understood that APG Asset Management is among the LPs. The firm is hoping to hold a final close over the summer, said de Rosière.
Deal flow for the credit strategy mirrors that of the private equity strategy – backing businesses and various sectors with an environmental sustainability angle – but the credit fund will not lend to any Ambienta-owned businesses.
The fund is targeting gross returns “in the low teens”, said Ran Landmann, the former CVC Credit Partners exec who co-leads the strategy alongside former Credit Suisse managing director Nishan Srinivasan. It has agreed its first transaction, lending to an unnamed business in the water sector, said Landmann.
The withdrawal of bank lenders from the mid-market means “the attractiveness of private credit is on everybody’s agenda”, said Landmann.
While loans made by the fund may have a sustainability-linked element in their structure, this will not be standard. “It is going to be worked out deal by deal,” said Landmann. “Each loan will be tailor made.”