NETHERLANDS - ABP has committed US$75m to a private equity fund managed by BlueOrchard, in what is its first investment in a private equity microfinance fund.
ABP had already invested US$40m in BlueOrchard Debt Funds since 2005. Jan van Roekel, portfolio manager with the asset manager of ABP, said: "These investments are particularly fit for a pension fund as a risk diversifier.
"They have so far proven to be relatively non-correlated with most other asset classes and it appeared natural to follow-up with an investment in private equity, a most needed form of financing in this industry."
BlueOrchard explained its private equity fund sought to forge long term partnerships with microfinance organisations across the world, acquiring minority stakes in their capital while playing an active governance role.
Van Roekel added they expected to achieve high financial returns through responsible investments.
BlueOrchard said investor confidence in the microfinance sector was increasing despite the volatile environment, where the sector managed to remain stable and productive.
Last February, ABP and TIAA-CREF were among the investors to commit US$125m to Catalyst Microfinance Investors (CMI), in a deal claimed to be the largest ever collective equity capital commitment to microfinance (www.globalpensions.com; 13/02/08).
CMI intended to use most of those funds for the rapid establishment and growth of ASA International in the largest microfinance markets in Asia and Africa.
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