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Impact investor Incofin raises growth capital 

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Published: 25 April 2023

The Belgian impact fund manager has secured backing from Degroof Petercam Asset Management and Korys to accelerate its growth and impact in emerging countries.

The raised capital will boost Incofin’s core investment strategy targeting financial inclusion, agrifood value chains, and water projects. | Photo by Jan Ali Laghari / Anadolu Agency

Incofin Investment Management announced last week that investment houses Degroof Petercam Asset Management (DPAM) and Korys had taken “significant minority stakes” to help the Belgian impact fund manager pursue “new territories, asset classes and geographies”. 

For Incofin, maintaining its independence was an important condition during years of discussions with a number of potential shareholders. The firm said it wanted to be absolutely sure its new partners’ “intentions were genuine”.       

The deal was made public last week. “DPAM and Korys were the winning combination,” confirmed Incofin’s founder and chair, Loïc De Cannière. “With them onboard, we proudly remain a company rooted in Belgium but with unlimited global outreach.”  

The capital fills Incofin’s war chest aimed at untapped investment opportunities integrating what it calls a “smart climate and gender lens”. It will also boost the firm’s core investment strategy targeting financial inclusion, agrifood value chains, and water projects. Last month, the firm announced the launch of its Water Access Acceleration Fund, as covered by Impact Investor.

The move is DPAM’s first foray into impact investing per se, but according to a statement by CEO Peter De Coensel, it felt like a “natural next step” to meet growing demand for responsible investing in emerging markets. “We’ve been thinking about broadening our offer for a long time, especially in the direction of impact investments in private debt and equity,” he said. 

For Korys – the Colruyt ‘supermarket’ family investment company – this latest investment marks a deepening of its impact investing portfolio. Korys backed Incofin’s Agricultural and Rural Impulse Fund (agRIF) in 2016 – a multi-regional microfinance facility for agricultural and rural outreach – and became a marquis investor in its India Progress Fund in 2021, focused on rural development on the Indian sub-continent. 

“We particularly enjoy working with partners who share our core values and aim to make a positive impact,” noted Frederik Bauwens, Korys’ investment director. He said the family office is committed to making sure Incofin “remains an independent investor” and is pleased that the reinforced partnership will help the Korys connect with new players active in areas close to its heart.  

This reflects new realities in the impact investment industry, as larger asset managers make moves to acquire impact investment boutiques.

The match-up 

Headquartered in Belgium, Incofin Investment Management also has teams in India, Colombia, Kenya, and Cambodia. It has invested (via equity and debt financing) over €2.7bn in more than 320 ventures, financial institutions and SMEs in the agri-food value chain, across 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. 

Korys has more than €4.5bn in assets under management. Its long-term investments are based on strict economic (profit), social (people), and ecological (planet) criteria in three main ecosystems: life sciences, energy transition, and conscious consumers. Meanwhile, on behalf of its institutional clients, DPAM has some €42.2bn under mandate and says it considers environmental, social and governmental factors in all asset classes and themes.  

All parties see the tie-up as a huge opportunity to leverage more sustainable impact and financial inclusion for low-income people in developing and emerging countries. To this end, Incofin revealed it will launch a big fund issuing microfinance for smart climate solutions in regions heavily impacted by climate change, such as Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

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