ITALY – The Italian legal pension scheme, Cassa Nazionale di Previdenza Forense, is among institutional backers of new €10m environmental initiative.

Other backers include Italian bank foundations Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Cariverona.

The three institutional investors, members of the Fondamenta fund of funds, have provided 50% of the capital to a holding company set up this week to invest in clean energy initiatives.

They were among the first to put money in Fondamenta, which was launched in 2000 by State Street Global Advisors’ Italian subsidiary, State Street Global Investors.

Giuseppe Campanella, the subsidiary’s co-managing director, is the man behind the initiative, which also involves a group of 10 private investors, each pledging €200,000 for the time being.

Campanella, who started developing the idea last autumn, said that “investor club” would provide 80% of equity whenever the holding finds a new deal. These investors could potentially pledge up to €5m each.

He added the investment makes financial sense, as well as being good for the environment.

“Clean energy is one of the few markets which will enjoy a strong growth in the new years,” he said. “It involves opportunities at a low commercial risk.

“There are no other such operators in Italy, so we effectively bridge a gap.”

Investors have so far expressed interest in such projects, but have been put off by a lack of expertise and the need for consistency, Campanella explained.

The holding, called Atmos, will invest in clean energy projects such as those promoting solar and hydroelectric energy and waste recycling. Eighty percent of the capital will be invested in Italy, with he balance going abroad – via an “opportunistic” approach, Campanella told IPE.

Atmos will be supported by a team of eight experts, two from State Street and two from clean-energy company EGP Ambiente, which has invested €3m in the holding and acts as “technical partner”.

The outfit will be based at State Street’s Milan offices.