Armstrong Asset Management has hired Yasushi Ujioka as an investment director to bolster its operational capabilities in the clean energy sector, according to a company statement. The appointment is effective from early May and is based in Singapore.
The Southeast Asian clean energy fund will use Ujioka’s expertise in the water, power generation and energy efficiency sectors, according to Andrew Affleck, managing partner at Armstrong. “As we start to deploy the fund, we felt we had the opportunity to strengthen the team from an operational perspective so we specifically wanted someone who had project management and execution experience,” he told Private Equity International.
Ujioka will the eighth investment professional to join the Armstrong team. Most recently, he was an investment director at Swiss-Asia Financial Services, the asset management firm of the China District Energy Fund. He has also worked as business development director for Asia at the Dalkia Group, the energy division of Veolia Environnement, and previously held a senior management position with Degrémont, the water treatment division of Suez Environnement in Paris.
We felt we had the opportunity to strengthen the team from an operational perspective so we specifically wanted someone who had project management and execution experience
Armstrong is currently raising its debut private equity vehicle targeting $150 million, according to the statement. It expects to make a final close in August this year, having made a first close on $65 million in August 2012, PEI reported earlier. The team has internally agreed on its first deal, although has yet to deploy any capital.
“The deals that are in due diligence at the moment are in the solar and mini-hydro sector, specifically in Thailand and the Philippines. At the moment we see the three primary markets being Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, with the more mature opportunities being in Thailand and the Philippines,” Affleck continued.
Although clean energy is a regulated sector, government involvement will decrease over time. “The challenges are that policy has to evolve, it has to improve and sometimes that can take longer than investors would like,” Affleck explains.
“Managing how governments implement policy and support [the sector] from a fiscal perspective, is an on-going challenge. Ultimately, over the next ten years we will move to a more unsubsidised model, where both fossil fuels and renewables are cost competitive with each other, allowing governments to reduce subsidies across the board. That is going to be positive all around for the energy sector and ergo for private investors.”