Moving between mega-firms

In case you missed it, New Private Markets had the scoop last night on a big move in the ESG world. Alison Fenton-Willock has joined KKR’s ESG team as a director. Fenton-Willock, a lawyer, joined Blackstone in 2015 and was named the firm’s first global head of ESG in 2018. She left Blackstone in mid-March. The news comes hot on the heels of Blackstone’s five appointments to senior ESG roles.

Golding’s impact goal

Golding Capital Partners has hired two people as it plots its move into impact investing. The firm has hired the founders of a private equity impact boutique, Sonanz, which raised €10 million from Swedish pension fund SEB Stiftelsen, H&M Foundation and a group of German and Swedish private investors and committed capital to five impact funds.

Munich-based Golding is an established fund investor in the private equity, private credit and infrastructure spaces, managing €10 billion of client assets. Colleagues on Infrastructure Investor noted this morning that the firm is making progress raising its fourth generation infrastructure fund of funds (registration required). But what of Golding’s impact plans?

  • Timing: the firm plans to launch a fund in the second half of this year, it said.
  • Strategy: Using Sonanz’s previous experience as a blueprint, it will take “a global approach and invest in a diversified portfolio of growth capital funds in the sectors ecotech, sustainable food and agriculture, as well as financial services”.
  • Team: The duo comprises Andreas Nilsson (LinkedIn profile), who cut his teeth at UBS and EQT, and Nina Freudenberg, who began her career in consulting with BCG.
  • What we don’t know: the size of the fund.

Video: HGGC’s CFO on ‘vulnerable leadership’

Leaders should be “vulnerable and open” to make private capital firms more inclusive and diverse, HGGC’s CFO Lance Taylor said to members of affiliate title Private Equity International’s CFO All Access networking community. Taylor told PEI’s Adam Smallman he realised, despite having overall responsibility for HR, he was not the person to run diversity initiatives as a middle-aged white man. Watch the edited conversation here.

Clean energy converts

Houston-based private equity giant EnCap has raised $1.2 billion for its first energy transition fund, the firm announced on Tuesday (press release). The fund took 19 months to raise and has already made five platform investments in the battery storage, distributed power and utility-scale solar and wind sectors. Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based $9 billion AUM firm CarVal closed its first clean energy credit and hard-asset fund at $490 million – nearly double its $250 million target. CVI Clean Energy Fund is “focused on credit and hard-asset investments in the clean energy sector, primarily in North America”, the firm said.

Acres of growth

Fledgling Africa-focused private debt firm Acre Impact Capital is poised to launch a series of private debt funds for African infrastructure. That’s after it received investments from the Rockefeller Foundation and GuarantCo, a subsidiary of multinational DFI Private Infrastructure Development Group. Acre’s funds will provide export finance loans for African infrastructure projects – a “new asset class” which involves “less risk than investing directly in government bonds or in other types of debt instruments across Africa”, according to Acre founder Hussein Sefian. Acre is also thinking about expanding its team with an office in Nairobi.

Averna merges carbon market firms

Averna Capital, a mid-market firm founded by former Apax partners, has merged two voluntary carbon market firms. ClimateCare, based in Oxford and Nairobi, develops carbon offset projects and provides carbon reduction solutions to companies. Averna acquired a majority stake in ClimateCare in October 2020. It has merged with Natural Capital Partners, a consultancy group that helps companies measure, reduce and offset carbon emissions.

Kirk-lands ESG partner

Law firm Kirkland & Ellis has broadened its ESG and impact practice group as Sara Orr joins as partner (press release). Chicago-based Orr will provide counsel on ESG- and impact-related investment regulations and opportunities. She previously led the ESG taskforce at Latham & Watkins.