Hudson Clean Energy eyes RMB fund

The Neil Auerbach-led firm (pictured) has hired Zhongmin Shen, who will lead the private equity firm’s China effort, which is expected to include fundraising.

Hudson Clean Energy Partners has hired Zhongmin Shen to lead its private equity effort in China. Shen, who has experience in both private equity and the energy sector, will be tasked with launching the firm’s Beijing office in preparation for a clean energy RMB fund, the firm said.

The New Jersey-based private equity firm declined to disclose when it would begin fundraising. Hudson, which focuses exclusively on clean energy investments, closed its debut fund at over $1 billion in 2009.

Shen was previously chief executive officer of Huaneng Invesco WLR Investment Consulting and has worked in energy or private equity for the past 17 years. He has also worked for CLP Holdings Limited and China Resources Power Holdings.

His first responsibility will be opening Hudson’s Beijing office and building a private equity team, Shen said in a recent interview. After the firm’s presence is established in China, he will focus primarily on sourcing and developing deal flow.

Neil Auerbach

China has become an increasingly popular destination for private equity firms, several of which have launched or closed RMB funds in the past year. Goldman Sachs launched its debut RMB fund in May, targeting RMB5 billion (€543 million; $769 million). Partners Group, TPG and The Carlyle Group are also fundraising in China.

Earlier this month, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation committed $248 million in senior debt to three funds focusing on Asia’s renewable energy and resource sectors.

“Yes, there is a lot of competition, but we’re not looking to do what everyone else is doing,” Hudson founder and co-managing partner Neil Auerbauch told Private Equity International. “China, over the last three to four years, has emerged as a leader in clean energy. Strategically, the question wasn’t whether we would go, but when.”

Auerbach founded Hudson in 2007. He had previously co-founded the U.S. alternative energy investment business within Goldman Sachs’s Special Situations Group, according to the firm’s website.