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Impax CEO Simm May Boost Renewable-Power Investments

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Impax Asset Management Group Plc may invest more in renewable-energy stocks after a selloff improved the industry’s value, Chief Executive Officer Ian Simm said.

“The renewable energy sector is now certainly showing a lot more value than six or seven weeks ago,” Simm said today in a telephone interview. In specialist funds, Impax has about 10-12 percent in alternative energy and there’s “a good chance we’ll be increasing that over the next three to six months.”

Wind and solar power shares have fallen in the wake of the failed United Nations climate-change talks in December in Copenhagen. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index has declined 23 percent this year, compared with a 5.6 percent drop in the MSCI World Index.

Impax, which specializes in renewable power, water and waste treatment investments, today said assets under management increased 40 percent to 1.8 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in the six months through March 31. The company’s shares gained 1.5 percent to 50 pence in London at 11:35 a.m. local time.

Simm declined to single out specific renewable energy stocks that Impax may invest in, though he noted Vestas Wind Systems A/S has “picked up quite considerably as investors have realized that in late March, early April, it was oversold.”

The fund manager is focusing some of its new investment companies that make buildings, vehicles and manufacturing plants more efficient in using energy. France’s Schneider Electric SA, the biggest maker of circuit-breakers, is an example.

Energy-Efficiency Stocks

“We see energy prices generally trending upwards and that just improves the economics for energy efficiency for industry, buildings and transportation,” Simm said. “Schneider Electric is very well-positioned for growth internationally in energy efficiency.”

The company, based near Paris, is trading at 15 times estimated 2010 earnings and 23 times trailing profit, according to Bloomberg data.

Waste and water infrastructure companies operating in Asia represent another area of focus as the continent urbanizes, Simm said.

“A good example of a stock that we like there would be China Everbright,” he said.

In the U.K., where Impax has 15 percent of its investments in stocks, Eaga Plc may benefit from policies by the new coalition government to insulate buildings, Simm said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

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