New AIB fund for Irish SMEs playing a role in the green transitionVish Gainon May 9, 2022 at 09:29 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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AIB is teaming up with UK investment manager Foresight Group to launch a new fund for Irish SMEs working towards accelerating Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Announced today (9 May), the AIB Foresight SME Impact Fund aims to raise €75m to invest in creating new jobs and developments in green businesses in Ireland. AIB has already provided a €30m cornerstone investment to the fund.

Equity investments will typically range between €2m to €5m, but AIB said that the investment values are flexible according to individual needs.

The all-island fund, expected to reach first close shortly, will fund small and medium-sized Irish businesses across a whole range of green industries.

“We will seek to invest across the spectrum of the low carbon agenda, from companies enabling the circular economy, to advanced technology which supports smart cities,” said Foresight partner James Livingston.

“Energy generation is just the start of the low carbon journey, and we need to change the way we live, work, what we consume and how we travel.”

Livingston also said that the partnership with AIB, which has 2.8m customers in Ireland, will see his London-based investment group open a brand new Dublin office soon. Last year, Foresight funds helped create more than 500 high-quality, sustainable jobs in the UK.

Globally, Foresight said its sustainable infrastructure investment division manages more than 300 sustainable assets and generates power from more than 3GW green energy assets.

Cathy Brice, managing director of AIB capital markets, thinks that Foresight’s experience and strong focus on ESG will be “invaluable to companies with big ambitions to play a role in Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy”.

“AIB is committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our customers to do the same. Our ambition is that green and transition lending will account for 70pc of new lending by 2030,” she said.

“But as well as taking action through lending, AIB is ensuring equity has a key role to play in backing the green businesses of the future.”

Last March, AIB launched a €50m green equity fund for Irish SMEs after acquiring Goodbody Stockbrokers for €138m.

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