November 16, 2018 / 3:37 PM / 25 days ago

France's Eiffel Energy Fund bridges short-term finance gap for renewables projects

PARIS, Nov 16 (Reuters) - France’s Eiffel Investment Group on Friday announced the closing of its 350 million euros ($398 million) fund which aims to serve as a bridging finance vehicle for small-scale renewable energy projects in France and other European countries.

The Eiffel Energy Fund, backed by investors including the European Investment Bank and French insurance group MAIF, was launched a year ago with 200 million euros.

It has financed 500 projects with a total capacity of 300 megawatts (MW), the company said in a statement.

The size of the fund has been increased to 350 million euros, which will enable the investment of around 1.5 billion euros over 10 years in energy transition through the recycling and reinvestment of the fund, it said.

New investors in the increased fund include insurance group Aviva.

Fabrice Dumonteil, chief executive of Eiffel Investment Group which has around 1.6 billon euros under management, said the energy fund was targeting a niche market in the renewables sector where there is a real financing gap.

“If you are a small developer with a project of around 5 MW or 10 MW or 15 MW, we come in with the bridging finance on a short-term basis until banks step in with long-term financing,” Dumonteil said, adding that the fund provides critical finance for projects for up to three years.

Dumonteil said that in the one year since the fund was launched, it has financed around 10 percent of all new renewable energy projects in France.

$1 = 0.8784 euros Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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