Construction equipment maker JCB’s heir launches hydrogen-focused fund

The Luxembourg-based investment vehicle is looking to raise $1.38bn after identifying more than three dozen possible targets

New hydrogen bus
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Jo Bamford, a member of the family behind one of the world’s largest construction equipment makers, has co-founded an investment fund to focus on the hydrogen sector.

HYCAP has raised more than £200 million ($277m) to invest primarily in British businesses as it aims to boost the production and supply of hydrogen made from renewable energy, according to a statement on Monday. Mr Bamford set up the fund with multifamily office Vedra Partners, co-founded by Max Gottschalk.

Managed in the UK, the Luxembourg-based fund is looking to raise £1 billion and has already identified more than three-dozen possible investments.

“People in the financial world are really excited about going green,” Mr Bamford, 43, said, adding that his family have put about £100m pounds into his latest venture. “There’s not much around in the world of hydrogen at the moment in terms of ‘How do I actually invest in it?’”

The move comes as hydrogen becomes an increasingly popular option for combatting climate change.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to show how his government will cut emissions to net zero by 2050 after announcing a series of goals to slash greenhouse gases. Last month, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a strategy that aims to unlock a total of £4bn of investment in hydrogen production by 2030, supporting 9,000 jobs.

“We’ve got to get this embedded in our economy,” Mr Bamford said on hydrogen.

Mr Bamford also owns a maker of double-decker buses that run on hydrogen and a company focused on creating a network for the fuel. He previously worked for JCB, run by his father Anthony, but left the company about five years ago to focus on hydrogen.

The Bamford family have a net worth of about $10bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

HYCAP is seeking to close its next fundraising round by the end of this year and is set to make its first investments within the next few months, said Mr Gottschalk, 49, who also co-founded Gottex Fund Management.

Updated: September 06, 2021, 8:54 AM