Canadian Investment Review

Caisse invests in agri-food sustainability, OMERS and Ontario Teachers’ sell stake in smart-metering company

Written by Staff on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 at 4:21 pm

Green plant in shape of growth financial graph © Aleksandr Khakimullin /123RF Stock PhotosThe Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and multi-stage investment firm S2G Ventures are creating a co-investment partnership whereby the Caisse will invest up to US$125 million over the next three years in ventures that aim to make the food and agriculture industry more sustainable and climate friendly.

“By enabling investments in ventures and growth equity companies involved in the production, supply chain and consumption stages, this partnership will help reduce the agri-food industry’s carbon footprint,” said Kim Thomassin, executive vice-president and head of investments in Quebec and stewardship investing at the Caisse, in a press release. “S2G is a leading investment firm in this sector and we are delighted to partner with them to support cutting-edge entrepreneurs who will make the food and agriculture industry more sustainable.”

Since 2017, the Caisse has committed to reducing its portfolio’s carbon footprint by 25 per cent per dollar invested by 2025. As of Dec. 31, 2019, its portfolio of low-carbon assets was US$34 billion, up 95 per cent from 2017.

For the last six years, S2G has invested behind the founders of food and agriculture companies from soil to shelf including: Apeel Sciences, Beyond Meat, Greenlight Biosciences Inc., Sweetgreen and MycoTechnology Inc. and many others.

“We are excited about this partnership with CDPQ and the potential to invest behind leading entrepreneurs in the food system,” said Sanjeev Krishnan, managing director and chief investment officer at S2G. “CDPQ shares our long-term vision of combating climate change and brings to the table tremendous experience investing in leading companies worldwide.”

In other investment news, the founding shareholders of U.K.-based smart-metering business Maple TopCo Ltd. — which include the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Borealis Smart Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, among others — are selling an 100 per cent equity interest in the company to funds managed by Equitix Investment Management Ltd.

Maple TopCo funds the procurement and installation of electrical and gas meters, in return for which it receives fixed payments under long-term agreements with power suppliers.

“We are pleased that MapleCo will be acquired by Equitix and are confident that the company will continue to deliver on its strong contracted pipeline and long-term growth ambitions across the metering and wider energy services markets,” noted a joint statement from the founding shareholders.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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