Eurazeo announces today that major steps have been taken by its Eurazeo Sustainable Maritime Infrastructure (ESMI) fund in its commitment to support the transition of the global maritime industry to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal’s ambition. This sustainable investment objective enables ESMI to be classified as Article 9 under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

With a total of EUR 200 million raised, the pace of the fund raising is further evidence of ESMI’s attractiveness. The Fund has indeed already reached more than half of its target fund size as of today.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) has made a cornerstone investment of EUR 70 million in ESMI, using resources from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. As a consequence, ESMI has become the first green leasing fund supported by the EIF through the EFSI Private Credit Tailored for SME programme. Other investors include state organisations, insurers, corporations, private sales networks and international investors.

The total invested will contribute to finance three main assets: vessels equipped with environmentally friendly technology that use more efficient or alternative fuels, innovative port equipment and infrastructure to aid ecological transition, as well as assets that support the development of offshore renewable energies.

Only five months after ESMI’s launch Eurazeo is delighted to announce that the Fund made its first transaction – the financing of a jack-up vessel used for the construction, repair and maintenance of European offshore windfarms.

The vessel is financed according to the sale and leaseback principle for a subsidiary of the Harren & Partner Group. It is currently in use in the North Sea for the German wind farm Nordsee One, whose 54 turbines will produce on average 1,2 billion kilowatt hours per year. Since power sector emissions in Germany were estimated at 344,5 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (gCO₂e/KWh) in 2021, this would result in 413 400 tCO2e savings.[2]

This is the first of a series of transactions: with a target size of EUR 350m, Eurazeo should be able to support about 50 European businesses operating small/medium sized vessels. In line with the International Maritime Organization’s decarbonisation pathway, ESMI financed assets will have an environmental objective of reducing GHG emissions by 2030 and/or generate climate contributions (avoided emissions in accordance with the capital invested). Emissions reductions and emissions avoided through the Fund’s investments will be measured and monitored through quantitative indicators. The Fund’s methodology has been reviewed by independent experts and its ESG indicators, including GHG emissions, will be audited annually by a third-party.

ESMI was advised by Elbe Financial Solutions (EFS), an independent investment advisor focused on ESG compliant shipping assets.

EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard said: “Our cooperation with Eurazeo, with the support of EFSI, demonstrates Europe’s strong commitment to improving access to finance for small and medium sized businesses in Europe. Given the EU Green Deal and sustainability focus of the Multiannual Financial Framework, this transaction provides support to an alternative lender in the context of the EU’s green transition.”

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “Given the vast amount of goods transported across our oceans every day, it’s clear that the maritime industry needs to make a major contribution to our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. It is great news that the Investment Plan for Europe is helping to support this Sustainable Maritime Infrastructure fund. This transaction is therefore key for solid financing towards more sustainable vessels and port infrastructure and advance the development of offshore renewable energy.”

Sylvain Makaya, Partner at Eurazeo, explains: “At a time when we need to at least halve emissions by 2030 to hope limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), we are committed to being an active contributor to the solution by deploying meaningful funds like ESMI that provide a response to the environmental and climatic issues.”

Source: Hellenic Shipping News