Investment firm Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL) told NewNet that the recently formed joint venture with Hong Kong-based investor First Eastern will boost its activities in Asia, as it plans to raise $500m to invest in the cleantech space. Jonathan Maxwell, founding partner and CEO of SDCL, said the First Eastern deal, which also involved a direct capital commitment directly into SDCL, will allow it support international investors looking to tap into opportunities in the region. With a broad focus on the environmental space – ranging from generation infrastructure to energy efficiency and water management – SDCL deploys expertise both through its advisory and investment arms.
‘On the advisory side, we design the structure and raise capital for funds, projects and companies in the environmental market. We think it is reasonable, and reflecting what we have been able to do in the past, to say that for all these funds, projects and companies that we advise on, the money that will be mobilised into those is $500m-plus,’ Maxwell said. He added, ‘The joint venture with First Eastern allows us to do that bigger and better in Asia – to service clients internationally that are looking to deploy capital into the region. We can also support those that are looking for financing in Asia.’ First Eastern has more than two decades of experience investing in China and SDCL’s areas of interest also include India’s solar sector as well as opportunities in Pakistan and South East Asia. Maxwell said the firm has been, and will continue, to work with institutional investors around the world. ‘Those institutional investors are looking for exposure to attractive investment opportunities. There are some investors we work with in Asia, but it is not just Asia-based investors, we are also bringing in investors to the region.’ Maxwell said a key client in the past was HSBC, with which SDCL helped establish a fund as the banking giant looked to enter the environmental infrastructure space. For its own investment activities, the focus is less on energy generation infrastructure but instead on reducing energy consumption through innovative power management techniques. ‘In particular, within that we have been very focused on developing projects in commercial and industrial buildings, which are designed to reduce demand for energy. We put together the project, we develop it ourselves and we add structure. We are looking to finance those projects, and are sourcing and developing deals.’ He said in Europe, SDCL has a ‘huge’ concentration in the UK, while in Asia has a ‘significant’ concentration in Ch