Armstrong Fund raises $130 million for projects in Southeast Asia

The Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund (Armstrong Fund) has completed its third closing of funding, bringing the total to $130 million in an agreement between IFC Catalyst Fund, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM).

The private equity fund will invest in a range of small-scale renewable and clean energy projects in Southeast Asia, providing developmental capital to help fund resource efficiency projects throughout the region’s emerging markets.

The three investor parties involved in the agreement are all committed to addressing climate change. IFC Catalyst Fund invests in innovative ways to tackle climate change in emerging markets, and is managed by IFC Asset Management Company LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the largest multilateral organization focused on private sector developments in emerging markets.

The IFC and the IFC Catalyst Fund have both committed $20 million each towards developing clean energy projects in Southeast Asia. "We are excited to partner with the Armstrong Fund," said IFC Catalyst Fund head Reyaz Ahmad.

"The capital, expertise, and innovation they will bring to clean energy in Southeast Asia exemplifies the role private equity can play in helping to address climate change while generating financial returns."

FMO is a first-time investor in the Armstrong Fund. “The fund… will change the energy matrix into a cleaner and more sustainable one,” said FMO Chief Information Officer Jurgen Rigterink.

SIFEM is the third investor for the third closing and represents Obviam – an independent investment advisor specializing in long-term investments in frontier markets.

"Obviam is looking forward to a long-term partnership with Armstrong, which offers a unique blend of in-depth renewable energy and Southeast Asia investment experience," said Obviam CEO, Claude Barras. "We expect the fund to play an important role in fostering the application of clean and renwable energies in the region, minimizing fossil fuel-based dependence."

Andrew Affleck, Armstrong Asset Management’s managing partner, added: "The Armstrong team will work with our investee companies to adopt best practices that adhere to IFC’s environmental and social performance standards, in addition to delivering the projected financial returns.

"As part of our obligations to all investors, we will also be reporting on the underlying environmental impact, including clean energy generated, and other developmental impact, such as support for local small and medium enterprises."

In May, the Armstrong Fund announced its first investment – the development and construction of a 30 MW portfolio of solar PV projects in Thailand, in collaboration with Hong Kong-based Symbior Energy. More recently, on Aug. 16, the Fund committed up to $30 million in financing for an initial pipeline of solar PV and biogas power projects in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Armstrong Fund expects to invest in 10 to 15 projects during its 10-year lifespan, each ranging from $5 million to $12 million.