X-Men, Avatar Backer Shuns Thrills With $390 Million Green Fund

X-Men, Avatar Backer Shuns Thrills With $390 Million Green Fund
Ingenious Media Holdings Plc, who backed X-Men: First Class, is setting up a fund for green-energy infrastructure. Photographer: Murray Close/20th Century Fox Film Corp./ Everett Collection

Ingenious Media Holdings Plc, after thrilling audiences by backing blockbusters Avatar and X-Men, plans to bore investors by setting up a fund of as much as 250 million pounds ($390 million) for green-energy infrastructure.

“We’re designing this to be boring,” said Sebastian Speight, managing director of Ingenious Media’s London-based clean energy unit, in an interview in the city. “Boring is what we like and for that reason we want proven technologies.”

About 35 percent of the open-ended fund will be for solar, 30 percent for wind, 10 percent to 15 percent for conventional biomass, and the rest for energy efficiency, Speight said. It will start up by the end of September, buy and hold operational assets, and seek a return of about 5 percent, he said.

The latest fund adds to the firm’s renewable-energy and energy-efficiency vehicles set up this year. The U.K. plans to get 15 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2020. Power from renewables made up 9.4 percent of generation in 2011 and 3.8 percent of energy use. The Ingenious funds qualify as Enterprise Investment Schemes, a U.K.-backed system that offers tax breaks to investors in higher-risk companies.

The company plans to raise its first 50 million pounds in 9 to 12 months, Speight said. The company also aims to widen its investor base, by attracting individual and private investors, as well as family offices and institutional investors.

Asset Pipeline

The fund will have debt of about 20 percent, reducing yield volatility and increasing operational liquidity, he said. With an initial 50 million to 60 million pounds and low gearing, it will have eight to nine assets, of about 8 million pounds each. Ingenious already has a pipeline of assets to buy, Speight said.

The company plans to raise 20 million to 30 million pounds for the renewable-energy fund and will probably invest in six to eight companies, James Axtell, investment director and head of the EIS energy efficiency fund, said in London. It is seeking to raise 8 million pounds by the year-end for the efficiency fund.

Ingenious Media was one of the investors in James Cameron’s Avatar, a blockbuster starring Sam Worthington that follows the nature-loving inhabitants of a distant planet attacked by an army from Earth that’s seeking to exploit its resources.

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