London-based fund manager Foresight Group is planning to launch its first infrastructure debt fund in Australia later this month, seeking to raise up to A$200m (€122m) to finance renewable energy projects.

The Foresight Renewable Energy Income Fund is aimed at Australian wholesale investors such as industry super funds, but will also be open to global investors.

Kim Nguyen, head of Australia, Foresight Group, told IPE Real Assets that pre-launch discussions with potential investors had yielded a positive response.

They were attracted to the fund’s green credentials, she said, adding that Foresight would be the first debt fund in Australia to be certified by the UK-based Carbon Trust.

Equity would be raised in two or three tranches, with the first close scheduled for November this year, she said.

“We expect to raise A$50m in the first tranche and the capital will be deployed into projects soon after that.”

Nguyen said: “We already have a pipeline of projects. We have begun due diligence on some of them and issued term sheets to potential borrowers.”

The fund would look to lending facilities of between A$30m and A$40m, a market that was currently not serviced by large banks, she said.

The new fund is targetting returns of 4% to 4.5%.

Foresight, an independent infrastructure fund manager, runs three infrastructure debt funds in the UK and Italy, with assets valued at £4bn.

Foresight first invested in Australia three years ago, and has so far acquired five solar farms, mostly in Queensland, with a total capacity of more than 250MW.