Ambienta closes €217.5m debut fund

The Milan-headquartered firm, in which banking group IntesaSanpaolo has a minority stake, is making environmentally-focused investments.

Nascent private equity firm Ambienta has closed its first fund with a total of €217.5 million in commitments from 20 financial institutions, as well as entrepreneurs, companies and family offices.

The Macquarie Clean Technology Fund and Doughty Hanson are among its limited partners.

Seventy percent of the capital raised came from institutional investors, led by Italian banking group IntesaSanpaolo, which committed €40 million.

Ambienta’s fund had been targeting a €250 million final close, according to its website, but wrapped up fundraising after 18 months in the market, in line with Italian regulations, Nino Tronchetti Provera, the firm’s chief executive, told PEO.

Tronchetti Provera

Most commitments were obtained directly by Ambienta, though Credit Suisse Italy and London-based Matrix Private Funds Group were used to obtain selected commitments, he said.

The fund will amass a portfolio of 15 to 20 companies, investing between €10 million and €30 million per deal for both minority and controlling stakes.

“It’s important that we play an active role within the company,” Tronchetti Provera said. “We want to be part of the board, not a passive investor.”

Ambienta invests in sectors including renewable power production and equipment, biofuels, energy efficiency, pollution mitigation, and waste and water management.

It has done two deals to date, acquiring a majority stake in Italiana Pellets, which makes solid fuel from biomasses, and a minority stake in renewable power plant developer and manager, ICQ.

It plans to invest approximately 80 percent of its capital in Europe and the remainder in the rest of the world.

IntesaSanpaolo has a 20 percent stake in the firm, while unnamed investors own 10 percent and 70 percent is owned by Ambienta’s four partners: Rolando Polli, Guido Rivolta, Mauro Roversi and Tronchetti Provera.

The team’s background melds private equity, advisory and operating expertise, Tronchetti Provera said.

The firm’s founding partner, Polli, is a 28-year McKinsey & Co. veteran, who has spent the last 12 years investing in the food, internet and renewable energy sectors, having most recently been chairman of renewable energy investment fund IGP Ambiente. He is also the founder and chairman of IGPartners, a cleantech-focused M&A advisor and consultant.

Tronchetti Provera also has ties to McKinsey, but was most recently part of senior management for the Telecom Italia Group. He founded Italy’s Kyoto club, an environment-focused non-profit, in 1999.

Meanwhile, Rivolta was the general manager of Pirelli Ambiente Eco Technology from 1997 to 2007, while Roversi spent seven years with private equity firm SG Capital Europe Advisors.