AIB Announce New SME Equity Fund Aiming to Raise €75 million
9th May 2022
AIB, Ireland’s largest financial services provider, has appointed Foresight Group, a leading SME and sustainable infrastructure investment manager, to manage a new SME equity fund. The AIB Foresight SME Impact Fund will back businesses helping to accelerate Ireland’s transition towards a low-carbon economy.
AIB is providing a cornerstone investment of €30 million to the Fund which aims to raise €75 million to stimulate job creation and ensure a greener future across the island of Ireland. The Fund will typically provide equity investments of €2 million to €5 million but it will have the ability to make larger or smaller investments.
AIB Managing Director of Capital Markets, Cathy Bryce, commented: “As Ireland’s largest financial services provider with 2.8 million customers, 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 70% of new lending by 2030.
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. That is why we are delighted to be partnering with Foresight, whose strong environmental, social and governance focus will be invaluable to small companies with big ambitions to play a role in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.’’
Foresight Partner, James Livingston, said: “We are delighted to be working with AIB in a partnership that will see us open an office in Dublin and support Irish SMEs across the whole decarbonisation agenda. 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.
“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, from enlightened consumer businesses taking market share from more environmentally damaging competitors, to the services companies that enable the transition to happen. We look forward to announcing further progress on the partnership shortly.”
The AIB Foresight SME Impact Fund, which will reach first close shortly pending customary regulatory approvals and will be open to firms in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, is expected to contribute significantly to job creation, alongside delivering economic growth and broader long-term benefits across the island. In calendar year 2021, Foresight’s private equity funds created more than 500 high-quality, sustainable jobs across the UK.
Pictured: Cathy Bryce, AIB Managing Director of Capital Markets and James Livingston, Foresight Partner.