In brief: French GP stakes business makes a sustainable start

Armen, a newcomer to the business of investing in general partners, describes itself using the language of sustainability; its debut investment suggests this is justified.

France-based energy transition specialist RGreen Invest has received a minority investment from Armen, a recently established investor in GPs.

What is Armen? Started by former executives from two longstanding French private markets firms (Ardian and Capza), Armen is the latest investor to enter the GP-stakes market. It is run by president Dominique Gaillard, who spent two decades at Ardian; CEO Laurent Bénard, who spent 17 years at Capza; and Renaud Tourmente, who most recently was head of business development and COO of Capza. Last week affiliate title Private Equity International reported (registration required) that it had held a €150 million first close on its debut fund (targeting €500 million).

What is RGreen Invest? A Paris-headquartered infrastructure debt provider with €1.9 billion in assets under management, according to New Private Markets‘ data. It was established in 2013 to invest in the energy transition. The firm has raised six funds – primarily investing in Europe – and last year it launched its Afrigreen Debt Impact fund, offering financial solutions to small and medium-sized on- and off-grid solar power plants in West and Central Africa.

Why this deal? It is increasingly the norm for general partners to take on outside investors; the capital tends to be used to expand the firm’s infrastructure and fund new strategies. “The management company will also use the funding to invest more in its funds alongside its LPs and to accelerate its international expansion,” said RGREEN in Thursday’s announcement.

So what? Armen describes itself using sustainability-centric language: it “aims to contribute to a positive change in the private equity ecosystem and to responsibly steer management companies and their holdings towards a sustainable future”. Its debut investment supports this pitch.