Virgin and RUSNANO announce formation of Emerging Markets Fund
Virgin Group, Virgin Green Fund and RUSNANO Capital today announced the formation of VGF Emerging Market Growth I L.P. (the “Fund”) with commitments of over $200 million.
The Fund will invest in buyout and growth equity opportunities in mid-cap companies. It will target the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability and renewable energy sectors in Russia, Turkey and CEE. The Fund will benefit from the Virgin and RUSNANO brands, deal flow and local investing experience.
The Emerging Market Fund is set up by Shai Weiss, Evan Lovell, Brooks Preston and Tamas Szalai. Weiss and Lovell are the co-founding partners of the Virgin Green Fund. Preston formerly of Wolfensohn & Company and Szalai of Bancroft Private Equity will lead the investment team. Andrew Reicher, the former head of CEE Private Equity for Credit Suisse and Chief Investment Officer at Actis, is the non-executive chairman of the investment committee. Collectively, the team brings the experience of investing USD $2 billion in emerging markets through more than 50 transactions.
At the launch in Moscow Sir Richard Branson said “We are excited to be launching our second fund focussing on the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability and renewable energy sectors. This fund will invest in Russia, Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe and will provide investors with tremendous opportunities to generate strong returns and also do something good for the planet at the same time.”
Anatoly Chubais, RUSNANO CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board: “Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies will provide answers to the key global challenges of natural resources depletion and environment pollution. Developing solutions will be impossible without the use of nanotechnology. I believe the fund will find great opportunities to invest in growth companies in Russia and take them into global markets.”
For Russia, the opportunity to consume less energy, export more energy, and secure its global competitiveness is a driving force behind the Government’s target to improve GDP efficiency by 1% per year. Turkey has strong incentives to develop an alternative energy sector because of its dependence on energy imports. The country’s fast growing economy imports 93% of its energy, according to the IEA – and this is a precarious position for any large economy. The majority of CEE and CIS countries have either aspirations or mandates to converge with EU policies on carbon, emissions, and renewable energy. The Fund will invest in proven management teams operating profitable enterprises in the target sectors and geographies.
The Fund has offices in London and Moscow, and is building its team in both locations.
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