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May 10, 2024

Renewables, infrastructure and international equity: Bernard Fairman, Foresight Group

Foresight Group was a pioneer in renewable energy investment back in the 1990s. Today, it is a diversified investment group listed in London. Its founder and chairman, Bernard Fairman, talks to Ross Butler about

  • Its expansion into global infrastructure;
  • Why he favours hydrogen over electric, and
  • His plans to build out the firm’s UK venture investment arm into an international-regional growth equity franchise.

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RW Blears: Our sponsor for this episode is RW Blears, a UK law firm specialising in fund management. If you are a UK venture capital manager or growth investor and need a trusted legal adviser, visit https://blears.com/

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Fund Shack podcast, host Ross Butler interviews Bernard Fairman, the Executive Chairman of Foresight Group. Bernard discusses the evolution and growth of Foresight Group, a sustainability-led investment manager co-founded by Bernard in 1984 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2021. The conversation covers various aspects of the business, including infrastructure, private equity, and capital management.

Key Highlights:

Company Evolution:

  • Foresight Group started with a focus on venture capital but shifted to renewable energy infrastructure around 2006, foreseeing solar energy as the cheapest form of energy due to Moore’s Law.
  • The company now also focuses on hydrogen as the next significant step in the energy transition.

Private Equity Strategy:

  • Foresight Group has become one of the largest regional private equity players in the UK by partnering with local authority pension funds.
  • The company aims to invest in local businesses to create jobs and generate regional wealth.

Investment Approach:

  • The firm’s strategy includes investing in renewable energy projects and regional private equity deals.
  • Bernard emphasizes the importance of scale in renewable energy to drive down costs and the role of government policies in supporting industry growth.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Bernard discusses the competitive landscape of infrastructure investment and the convergence of private equity and infrastructure skills.
  • He highlights the massive opportunities in solar energy and the energy transition, predicting it to be a multi-trillion dollar industry.

Future Goals:

  • Foresight Group aims to significantly expand its infrastructure business and possibly enter international markets, starting with raising local funds before expanding further.

Market Insights:

  • Bernard provides insights into the challenges of electric vehicles, emphasizing the need for coherent government energy policies and the regressive impact of rapid transitions without proper planning.

Listing on the Stock Exchange:

  • The listing on the London Stock Exchange has increased the company’s visibility but has not been effective as an acquisition currency due to low market liquidity.

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#Sustainability #RenewableEnergy #VentureCapital #PrivateEquity #SolarEnergy #HydrogenEconomy #InvestmentManagement #InfrastructureInvestment #CleanTech #EnergyTransition

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Fund Shack is a private equity podcast and global media channel for alternative investment professionals. Fund Shack is produced by Linear B Group and if you are interested in appearing on the show, wish to propose a client, or are interested in sponsorship, contact:

Katie Mitchell

katie@linearb.media

Linear B Group

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