Infrastructure fund of the year - BNP Paribas European Infra Debt Fund

Channels: ESG

Companies: BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas's European Infra Debt Fund posted returns of 276 basis points (bps) above the three-month Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), in the 12 months to 31 December 2019, above its target of three-month Euribor +215 bps.

Karen AzoulayBNP Paribas accredits the fund's performance to its sustainability credentials and its selective and disciplined investment approach.

The fund has invested approximately €180 million ($200 million) across seven infrastructure debt deals over the year, after analysing more than 150 potential opportunities.

“Beyond simply focussing on returns, many investors also seek to support projects that benefit the environment and the wider community. The key challenge has been to close the gap between generating sustainable returns and having a positive ESG impact,” said Karen Azoulay, head of infrastructure debt at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “We are proud to be at the forefront of environmentally sustainable investing, and this award is a welcome recognition for our team, which has built a truly ESG-integrated investment solution."

A defining aspect of BNP Paribas's European Infra Debt Fund SA is the development of BNP's own infrastructure debt taxonomy, which is integrated into the firm's ESG considerations.

BNP Paribas has also incorporated impact investing into the fund's approach, with the aim that its investments are both sustainable and contribute positively to the communities in which its investments are located. Examples of investments that adhere to this philosophy include solar energy and developing high-speed broadband networks in rural France to reduce the digital connectivity divide.

The firm also believes a key feature of the fund is its adaptability, particularly with regards to projects that are at the crossroads of traditional infrastructure, energy and information technology. This includes areas such as smart grids, meters, cities and the infrastructure needed for increased data storage. It has therefore developed ESG metrics that are adaptable to the new trends it is targeting. EF