New AIB fund for Irish SMEs playing a role in the green transition

9 May 2022

Cathy Bryce, AIB managing director of capital markets, and James Livingston, Foresight partner. Image: AIB

London-based Foresight Group will manage the €75m SME fund, which already has a €30m investment from AIB.

AIB is teaming up with UK investment manager Foresight Group to launch a new fund for SMEs 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 green business ideas in Ireland. AIB has already provided a €30m cornerstone investment to the fund.

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

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

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

Livingston added that the partnership with AIB will see the London-based investment group open a brand new Dublin office soon.

Cathy Bryce, managing director of AIB capital markets, said 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 year, AIB revealed plans to launch a green equity fund for Irish SMEs after acquiring Goodbody Stockbrokers for €138m.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic