International legal practice Osborne Clarke has advised Foresight Group ("Foresight"), a leading listed regional private equity and infrastructure investment manager, on the launch of two regional funds: a fund dedicated to investment in Northern Ireland (“Northern Ireland Fund") and a £50 million equity fund for the Investment Fund for Wales ("IFW").
Osborne Clarke's team was led by Partner and UK Head of Financial Institutions Group, Helen Parsonage and included Senior Associate Lizette Hunter and Associates Nick Kristensen and Eric Edwin. Partner Erika Jupe advised on tax matters.
Foresight is one of the UK's most active investors in SMEs, providing flexible funding and partnering with companies across all sectors and deal stages. With both funds, the company will replicate the successful strategy it has deployed across the UK and Ireland to drive sustainable growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity for new and growing businesses across the respective regions.
The Northern Ireland Fund was launched with the support of British Business Investments, a wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank. Targeting small debt and equity investments in established SMEs with growth potential in Northern Ireland, the Fund will have the flexibility to invest across a variety of sectors and in a range of deal types.
The Northern Ireland Fund will co-invest with other Foresight managed funds that already invest in Northern Ireland, including the AIB Foresight SME Impact Fund which invests across the island of Ireland.
The £130 million IFW is operated by the British Business Bank and provides a mix of debt and equity funding, helping a range of small and medium sized businesses in Wales to start-up or stay ahead. Foresight has been chosen to manage the £50 million equity finance fund, the IFW – Foresight Equity Finance. This will be sector agnostic and provide equity investments from £250,000 to £5 million to Welsh companies.
Together, these mark the eighth and ninth regional funds on which Osborne Clarke has advised Foresight.
In connection with the Northen Ireland Fund, James Livingston, Partner at Foresight, commented: "We are thrilled to launch this Fund with support from British Business Investments. We have been operating in the Northern Irish market for more than 10 years. This Fund will increase the volume of Northern Irish SMEs we can support. We look forward to enabling promising companies across Northern Ireland to thrive, positively impact their local areas, and create high-quality, local jobs."
About Foresight Group
Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 400 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages 13 regionally focused investment funds across the UK and an SME impact fund supporting Irish SMEs. This team reviews over 2,500 business plans each year and currently supports more than 250 investments in SMEs. Foresight Capital Management manages four strategies across seven investment vehicles.
Foresight operates in eight countries across Europe and Australia with AUM of £12.2 billion. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021 and is a constituent of the FTSE250 index.