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PRESS RELEASE: Mergence Investment Managers and Third Way Investment Partners in R450-mIllion renewable energy deal

Two established, women-led black fund managers point the way for cleaner energy post-COVID Mergence Investment Managers and Third Way Investment Partners have invested R225m each to refinance a major renewable energy plant in a remote area of South Africa. The project cannot yet be named for confidentiality reasons. Both parties to the transaction have strong…

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Two established, women-led black fund managers point the way for cleaner energy post-COVID

Mergence Investment Managers and Third Way Investment Partners have invested R225m each to refinance a major renewable energy plant in a remote area of South Africa. The project cannot yet be named for confidentiality reasons.

Both parties to the transaction have strong track records in impact and infrastructure investing on behalf of institutional investors, mainly retirement funds whose long-term liabilities are a perfect match for long-term infrastructure investment, providing an inflation-linked return, whilst investing in the local economy .

The renewable energy and infrastructure funds of both Mergence and Third Way have achieved returns in excess of the CPI + 4 hurdle on their infrastructure funds.

The private sector will play a major part in financing domestic infrastructure, needed in SA more than ever to accelerate growth following the devastating economic aftermath of the Lockdown 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Asset manager support will bolster the government’s R100 bn package to stimulate infrastructure development.

Fulufhelo Makwetla, Founder and Managing Director of Third Way Investment Partners, says: We are excited at the opportunity to collaborate with Mergence to co-invest into the struggling South African economy. We still have dry powder close to R1bn and are looking for opportunities to invest, fast tracked subsequent rounds of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) will be a welcomed investment opportunity.”

Fulufhelo Makwetla, Founder and Managing Director of Third Way Investment Partners

Yoza Jekwa, Joint Managing Director of Mergence Investment Managers, says:  “The vital role of asset managers in facilitating responsible investing of pensioner retirement saving into viable infrastructure assets is multi-layered and cannot be under-estimated. The asset manager has a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the monies it invests on behalf of pension funds and their beneficiaries through sourcing, vetting and structuring infrastructure deals, as well as stringent continued oversight of project management.” (See fiduciary responsibilities under Notes to Editors below).

Yoza Zekwa, Joint Managing Director of Mergence Investment Managers

Mark van Wyk, Head: Infrastructure and Developmental Investments at Mergence Investment Managers, says: “The refinancing or secondary investments in an existing project indicates a positive maturation of the renewable energy market in that transactions between project lenders can be executed. It means that the energy projects can be sustained, jobs retained and energy continued to be dispatched into the grid.”

Mark van Wyk, Head: Infrastructure and Developmental Investments at Mergence Investment Managers

Mergence has raised R1,7 bn for its renewable energy fund, and invested in a total of 14 renewable energy project across both wind and solar, 11 projects of which have been operational for some years. Mergence has raised a total of R3 bn across other sectors such as affordable housing, ICT, water and sanitation, as well as renewable energy. An estimated 17,000 jobs have been impacted, often in rural and remote parts of South Africa.

Third Way Investment Partners has raised R2,5bn for its Infrastructure Debt Fund, investing in over 30 projects in the poorest of South Africa’s provinces including Limpopo, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, and impacting the lives of communities which are frequently are excluded from such opportunities.

Mergence Investment Managers was an initial signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) supported by the United Nations, as well as an initial signatory to the Code for Responsible investing in South Africa (CRISA), chaired by Third Way co-founder John Oliphant.

Mergence Investment Managers has also been a trailblazer in ESG-led impact investing as far back as 2010, long before it became ‘trendy’. The company produces an annual impact report quantifying the social and environment impact of its investments. The report also includes investment case studies ranging from renewable energy, to low-cost housing, taxi finance and a medicinal cannabis project in Lesotho (Mergence was the first institutional fund manager in Africa to invest in such a project).

Third Way has made a name for itself in developmental and infrastructure investing on behalf of retirement funds, given the company’s experience at the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), where they implemented the GEPF’s developmental investment strategy with a focus on economic and social infrastructure, greening the economy and job creation through investments in small and medium enterprises with a focus on transformation. 

ENDS

Source: https://savca.co.za/press-release-mergence-investment-managers-and-third-way-investment-partners-in-r450-million-renewable-energy-deal/general/

Private Equity

Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform. RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

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Alternative Investments: Accelerate’s Alt ETFs Now On RBC Dominion Securities A+ Platform

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The A+ is for you if “you require serious investment management for your serious money.”

Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc announced this week that its alternative ETFs have been added to the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform.

RBC Dominion Securities describes the A+ as the next level of wealth management.

For select clients with serious money, the platform provides greater convenience, customization, RBC’s Unified Managed Account technology, access to elite money managers worldwide, and tax efficiency.

Accelerate’s Alt ETFs on RBC A+

The range of alternative ETFs from Accelerate allows investors to diversify beyond stocks and bonds by including alternative asset classes in their portfolios.

The firm is known as a pioneer in institutional caliber alternative ETFs including hedge fund and private equity ETFs. It claims it is “disrupting the asset management industry by offering performance-oriented alternative investment strategies previously reserved for wealthy investors at a fee significantly lower than competitors.”

“We are pleased to be chosen by RBC Dominion Securities, a global leader in wealth management, as one of the select group of high-quality investment managers on the exclusive A+ platform for RBC Dominion Securities advisors and their clients,” said Accelerate CEO Julian Klymochko. “In an era of rock-bottom interest rates and record-high stock market volatility, we are pleased to provide investors with diversification, alternative yield, and alpha generation solutions through alternative investment strategies including absolute return, arbitrage, enhanced equity, and private equity replication.”

Selected ETFs

The alternative ETFs on the RBC Dominion Securities A+ platform include:

  • Accelerate Absolute Return Hedge Fund (TSX: HDGE) – a diversified, liquid, and performance-oriented long-short equity hedge fund
  • Accelerate Arbitrage Fund (TSX: ARB) – provides exposure to SPAC arbitrage and merger arbitrage investment strategies
  • Accelerate Enhanced Canadian Benchmark Alternative Fund (TSX: ATSX) – combines exposure to the S&P/TSX 60 plus a long-short Canadian equity overlay
  • Accelerate Private Equity Alpha Fund (TSX: ALFA) – designed to provide investors with private equity-like investment returns

Related Story:  Liquid Alt ETF Provider Accelerate Offers Ready-Made Alternative Investment Strategy                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/accelerates-alt-etfs-now-on-rbc-dominion-securities-a-platform/

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures). It uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

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Venture Capital: AgTech Startup Benson Hill Lands $150M

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Benson Hill uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.

Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

The company said other strategic and ESG focused investors also participated. These included Argonautic Ventures, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Emart, GS Group, Louis Dreyfus Company, iSelect Fund, Fall Line Capital, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, Prolog Ventures, S2G Ventures, and additional strategic and family office investors.  (FOOD navigator-USA.com)

Benson Hill technology

Benson Hill uses biotechnology, data science, and AI to enhance the nutritional qualities, flavor, and sustainability of crops and vegetables.

The firm’s “Cloud Biology” is the fusion of data, machine learning, and AI techniques with biology. Its “CropOS” is a proprietary platform that facilitates the accessibility and actionability of Cloud Biology.

The CropOs platform uses plant phenotyping, predictive breeding, and environmental modeling algorithms to better control the plant breeding process and realize these advantages:

  • Produces plants that are highly productive, highly nutritious, and better tasting
  • Better texture
  • Reduce the number of processing steps
  • Reduce the need for additives
  • Grow plants that “do more with less,” thus boosting sustainability

The company’s work so far has been concentrated around soybeans.

Its new, ultra-high-protein (UHP) soy products spiked the interest of investors. They come from a highly productive non-GMO soybean that is rich in oleic oil content.

Use of funds

Benson Hill plans the commercial launch of the first Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties in 2021, among other product launches.

It also plans to expand its team by adding top talent and continue the development of Cloud Biology and CropOS.

“As a society, we’re at a crossroads made more evident as the pandemic has revealed strengths and vulnerabilities in our food system,” said Matt Crisp, Benson Hill CEO. “Food choices that create enjoyment, make us stronger, and help preserve our environment need to be accessible to everyone, and the power of plant diversity and technology innovation can help fuel that evolution.

Related Story:   Smart Farm Technology To Take The Drudge Out of Plant Breeding

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/agtech-startup-benson-hill-lands-150m/

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FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock. The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products.

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FinTech: Alliance Data Buys BNPL Fintech Bread For $450M

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Alliance Data will pay in cash and stock for the acquisition.

Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) said Thursday that it will acquire Bread and its digital buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform for $450 million of which $100 will be paid through Alliance stock.

The transaction would expand Alliance Data’s own digital offerings by including BNPL products. BNPL is a major trend now that consumers have embraced the interest-free, zero-fee facility to pay in installments. Alliance is a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty, and payment solutions. (Alliance)

Digital BNPL is particularly popular with millennials and the younger set. They prefer not to run up credit card debt and like the speed and convenience. The technology and products acquired from Bread will address this segment of the population.

Bread already has tie-ups with merchants such as online jewelry seller Noémie, the luxury watch seller Hublot and Newton Baby, the crib mattress provider.

BNPL customer experience

“Bread’s flexible, easily-integrated payment solutions, coupled with Alliance Data’s Enhanced Digital Suite, will improve the digital customer experience and support increased acquisition and checkout rates, offering the best payment product to the right consumer at pivotal moments in the customer’s online shopping journey,” Alliance said in a statement.

Alliance intends to leverage Bread’s solutions along with its own existing private label, general-purpose and commercial products.

COVID-19

Its brand partners will therefore get another advantage in the eCommerce channel, with online businesses already getting a boost from COVID-19.

“With the timing of the holiday season upon us, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and perhaps nowhere as significantly as in financial services and payments,” said Val Greer, chief commercial officer, Alliance Data.

BNPL is now crowded with cash-rich players

Payments giant PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced in August that it would begin offering BNPL services, recognizing that COVID-19 had triggered a dramatic increase in their popularity.

Other players in the BNPL field include Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Quadpay.

In a recent study, Tech Crunch found that PayPal had the highest retailer coverage with a presence of 65% retailers. Afterpay was a distant second at 10%, then Affirm 6%, Klarna 5%, and QuadPay 2%.

The study concluded that PayPal was primed to dominate the BNPL wars.

Related Story:   PayPal Challenges Klarna In U.K. BNPL Tussle                                                

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alliance-data-buys-bnpl-fintech-bread-for-450m/

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