Energie rinnovabili

Former F2i chief takes chairman role at Quercus infrastructure firm; The firm plans to launch a solar fund this year

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One of Italy’s best-known infrastructure veterans has joined renewable energy manager Quercus Assets Selection to drive its expansion into the broader infrastructure sector as appetite for more stable returns continues to grow.
Vito Gamberale, who stepped down as chief executive of infrastructure firm Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture – known as F2i – last year, has become the first chairman of Quercus to “boost to its expansion plans in renewable energy and broader infrastructure investment”, according to a statement.
Quercus, co-founded by chief executive Diego Biasi, in 2010, focuses on investments including solar and wind projects. Its raised about €50 million for its first fund, a vehicle investing in the Italian solar sector, in 2011. Its latest fund, launched last month, aims to raise €150 million for Italian wind farm investments.
However, Mr. Biasi said he planned an ambitious expansion into the wider infrastructure market, including the launch of a generic infrastructure fund fro deals in southern Europe next year. He said he had yet to set the fund’s target but that it would be “much, much bigger” than the wind fund.
He said: “You need to set the bar quite high to be effective in the [infrastructure] market.”
He added the firm would launch another solar fund this year with a target of more than €150 million.
He said increasing appetite among large investors for more stable returns had generated more interest in the sector. He said: “The infrastructure and renewable energy sectors offer real assets and we see this is requested by insurance companies more and more, pension funds, banking foundations, sovereign funds and these are our typical clients…”
Meanwhile, Quercus hopes to open an office in Italy after the summer to add to its offices in London and Luxembourg.
Mr Gamberale stepped down as chief executive from F2i – one of Europe’s most high-profile infrastructure managers – in October after more than seven years in the role. Renato Ravanelli replaced him the same month.
F2i is currently targeting €1.2 billion for its second fund and has so far secured €775 million of commitments, according to the firm’s website.

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