The Alchemist owner Palatine closes its largest ever impact investment fund at £100m

Lucy White
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Money may well grow on trees: Palatine aims to produce industry-standard returns while investing in businesses which have a positive social or environmental impact (Source: Getty)

UK-focused private equity firm Palatine, which owns bar and restaurant chain The Alchemist, has closed one of the largest ever impact investment funds at a total of £100m.

The fund, which will invest in businesses which have a positive social or environmental impact while also aiming to generate industry-standard returns, exceeded its target of £75m.

Read more: Now anyone can make a difference: Impact Investment Trust is set to list on the London Stock Exchange

It will be led by Beth Houghton, who has headed Palatine's environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts since joining in 2007. Last year, Houghton won the first “Outstanding Individual Contribution” award for responsible investment from the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

“We have developed a strong pipeline of companies led by people that share our passion to grow companies that make a difference,” she said.

“The impact team are excited to work alongside these management teams to deliver positive social or environmental impact alongside private equity returns.”

Houghton will lead a team of four investment professionals, including Zoe Clements who joined from Electra Partners in 2016 bringing 12 years of private equity experience. Industry veteran and chairman of the BVCA's impact investment committee Tim Farazmand is the fund's chairman.

Palatine's Impact Investing Fund will invest up to £10m in businesses focused on themes such as integrated health, ethical consumerism, lifestyle and wellbeing and the circular economy.

Read more: Millienials want to invest for good - but what is impact investing and how do you get involved?

The fund reached its £100m final close in less than a year, with new investors as well as several of the firm's existing investors piling in.

These included public pension plans, endowments, consultants, funds of funds and high net worth individuals.

Palatine has raised three other UK mid market-focused private equity funds, the latest being a £220m vehicle which closed in 2015 after just 11 weeks of fundraising.

Evercore Private Funds Group acted as placement agent on the Impact Investment Fund, while Fried Frank was the legal advisor.

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