Amundi hits €130m first close on €750m debt fund

The Article 8 impact fund will target European food and agriculture businesses transitioning to more sustainable production methods.

Amundi Real and Alternative Assets has held a €130 million first close on its Amundi Ambition Agri-Agro Direct Lending Europe Fund.

The fund has a €750 million fundraising target and the first close capital was provided by Amundi’s parent company, Crédit Agricole Group.

Amundi Ambition is an Article 8 impact fund that will provide senior, unitranche and subordinated debt instruments to European agriculture and food businesses transitioning to more sustainable production methods.

Crédit Agricole Group’s backing for the fund is part of its societal project, which is a 10-point initiative made up of environmental targets and support for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We identified with Crédit Agricole that the group was not involved in unitranche or mezzanine and all these other non-dilutive financing instruments, therefore they decided that this was a good complement to their offering,” Amundi head of private debt Thierry Vallière told Agri Investor.

The closed-end fund will seek to make between 20-30 investments in SMEs, mid-sized businesses and cooperatives.

Target businesses will have EBITDA of €3 million-€20 million, with those in the €10 million-€15 million range being in the “sweet spot” for the fund, said Vallière.

“The average ticket for the senior part of the vehicle would be in the €30 million-€40 million range and probably around €20 million for the subordinated mezzanine part,” he said.

Vallière added that Amundi will lean on the wider Crédit Agricole Group for deal sourcing, given the breadth of its exposure to the European and global agricultural and food value chain.

“One of the key things that will differentiate us from our peers is all the sector knowledge that you can find in the group. For instance, if you are interested in what’s happening in the corn, beetroot or whatsoever industry, you’d find some specific research available with the group. Or if you want another view on a specific company, its management history and so on – that is extremely valuable for us and we’ll have access to that,” Vallière said.

The fund will be marketed for the next 12-18 months and will target an average yield of three-month Euribor plus 7 percent.

Crédit Agricole’s societal project has also seen the group establish a €300 million fund managed by IDIA Capital Investissement, which has been fully funded by the group’s subsidiaries.

Crédit Agricole has also placed €60 million into a venture capital agriculture fund managed by Supernova Invest, which has a €100 million target.

Amundi Real and Alternative Assets had €72 billion in assets under management in July 2023, according to the firm’s website.