Marlin backs AI-based People-Analytix; European energy deals skyrocket in 2022

Good morning Eurohubsters, Nina Lindholm here with the final Dealflow of the week.
I’m back to writing to you on a Friday, but I hope you enjoyed the extra treat you got this week, as I also got to write Monday’s Dealflow. Today, we’ve got information on European energy deals, a dark green fund closure and some gifts and rewards. Those gifts unfortunately aren’t from us (or for us) – they relate to a deal by IK Partners. But to start, let’s focus on energy.

Going green. This week, S&P Global Market Intelligence published some data points on private equity investment in European energy. Between the start of this year and 26 September, oil, gas and coal companies secured $5.36 billion from PE, up 83.5 percent from $2.92 billion last year. For renewable energy, the aggregate deal value shot up approximately nine times, to $5.51 billion from $633.9 million.

Spain came out on top for the largest amount of investment, at approximately $4.97 billion, followed by France and the Netherlands with about $3 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively. Spain’s number one spot was boosted by EIG Global Energy Partners’ $4.80 billion acquisition of a 25 percent stake in Spanish oil and gas exploration company Repsol Upstream.

The largest renewable deal reported by S&P’s data was KKR’s approximately $2.82 billion buyout of French renewable energy producer Albioma, announced in late April. PE Hub Europe reported on Albioma’s activity in August, when the Paris-headquartered company purchased a portfolio of six photovoltaic power plants in Brazil from Ardian’s GreenYellow.

Find out the total capacity of the plants and more on Albioma’s ambitions here.

Dark green. Staying on the topic of green energy, Capital Dynamics, a Zug, Switzerland-based private asset management firm, announced the final closing of Capital Dynamics Clean Energy Infrastructure IX (CEI IX). The vehicle exceeded its initial target of €300 million by 75 percent and closed with €521 million in capital commitments.

The fund targets subsidy-free renewables projects across Europe and it has so far invested in a portfolio of eleven assets across nine projects. Four of these ready-to-build assets have been constructed and are now operational, according to a statement by Capital Dynamics. CEI IX is labelled an Article 9 ‘Dark Green Product’ under SFDR classification, with sustainable investment as a core product objective.

“The fact that the fund has exceeded its target speaks to the high level of interest and enthusiasm we have seen from our investor base and the increasing demand for investment vehicles with specific renewables expertise to aid the energy transition,” said Simon Eaves, co-head of clean energy at Capital Dynamics, in a statement. “The ongoing effort to decarbonise our energy system underpins the longevity of these clean energy infrastructure technologies, and we are proud of our strong track record investing in the renewables space.”

We’ve seen that demand over here on PE Hub Europe too. In September, I wrote a round-up of anaerobic digestion asset platform launches we’d seen over the summer. You can read more on that here.

People skills. Leaving the green deals behind, up next we’ve got Marlin Equity Partners’ acquisition of artificial intelligence-based skills platform People-Analytix. The company, headquartered in Zurich, aims to let companies identify organisational skills gaps and workforce trends. It will be merged with Learning Pool, a Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland-headquartered eLearning company that Marlin acquired in June 2021.

“We believe People-Analytix’s AI-based skills platform is highly complementary to Learning Pool’s eLearning offering and significantly enhances our competitive position in a strategic segment of the market,” said Jan-Olivier Fillols, a managing director at Marlin.

Marlin, headquartered in Hermosa Beach, California, is a global investment firm with over $8.1 billion in assets under management.

Well wishes. Finishing up with a fun one, IK Partners announced that it has bought a minority stake in gift and rewards platform Wishcard. The investment was made via IK Partnership Fund II as part of a consortium with EMZ Partners and Oakley Capital.

Wishcard is headquartered in Brilon, Germany. The company provides multi-brand vouchers for personal gifting and for businesses. Operating across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, Wishcard distributes its goods through various sales channels, including a network of more than 110,000 retail outlets and its own e-commerce platform. The company also sells directly to its B2B customer base.

“With the help of Oakley Capital, the management team has successfully established Wishcard as the leading provider of personal and business gift cards in the DACH region,” said Detlef Dinsel, managing partner at IK and advisor to IK Partnership Fund II. “We expect the market to continue to grow at an attractive rate and look forward to working with our co-investors and new CEO Andreas Betzer to develop the company’s international footprint with a sustainable product offering.”

IK Partners is a London-based private equity firm focused on mid-market companies across the business services, healthcare, consumer and industrials sectors.

Read my colleague David Wansboro’s full write up on the deal here.

That’s it from me today. I hope you all have a great weekend. Mine will include some running, and I’m going out for a curry tonight. Craig McGlashan will write to you on Monday as usual.