Frederic Giovansili and Vincent Lemaitre, Tikehau
Frederic Giovansili (left) and Vincent Lemaitre (right)

Alternative asset manager Tikehau Capital has partnered with Societe Generale to launch SG Tikehau Dette Privée, a debt fund that enables private investors to invest in Western European SMEs committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Following the announcement, Tikehau deputy CEO Frederic Giovansili told New Private Markets: “In France, unit-linked products are a big driver of private investment. Recently, there has been a lot of development in private equity unit-linked products. We are focusing mainly on direct lending, and we see a lot of traction on direct lending as a unit-linked product and adding in the decarbonisation, we’ve made a very unique product for French savers.”

Tikehau did not disclose its fundraising target, but Giovansili said it has “very ambitious goals”. The firm’s first unit-linked product, jointly launched with insurer MACSF in 2021, raised nearly €300 million in 18 months.

The fund, which will be sector-agnostic in its investments, has a maturity of 10 years and an investment period of six years. Every company financed by the fund must commit to a Paris-aligned decarbonisation strategy based on the Science Based Targets initiative methodology. Throughout the financing period, borrowers’ compliance with the decarbonisation plans will be audited annually and, depending on the results, they will “adjust the finance conditions”, the firm said. When it comes to returns, the loans are all floating rate, with a current aim of 5 percent net of management fees.

“In terms of deployment, it is very much similar to what we’re doing for institutional investors,” said Giovansili. “We just added this decarbonisation feature. We believe that this feature that we designed for private investors will be implemented for institutional investors as well.”

Tikehau has classified the fund under Article 8 of the SFDR, opting not to commit to the more onerous obligations of Article 9. Explaining the decision, Vincent Lemaitre, head of ESG for private debt, said: “It’s not a question of the soundness of our methodology, it is more a matter of sustainable data collection. We are targeting SMEs in Europe, and the level of maturity for those companies in terms of sharing data is not that high.”