Environmental technology grabs stockmarket's attention
"It all started for us when a guy from Denmark turned up in our office and said ET is going to be bigger than IT."This was Bruce Jenkyn-Jones, director of environmental investment management company Impax, a firm which now has put some £300m into the environmental technology (ET) sector.
Talking at the first ever Water & Waste Capital Markets Day at the London Stock Exchange, Mr Jenkyn-Jones was keen to persuade investors that backing environmental stock wasn't just about the ethics and saving the planet, but was a safe bet with real potential for high returns.
Over 100 investors turned up for the event to hear what the environmental sector had to offer them.
Martin Graham, director of market services and head of the LSE's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), said the future looked bright for environmental business.
"There are very clear signals that environmental markets are climbing higher and higher not just up the political agenda but up the business agenda," he said.
"As innovation and technology show the way forward more and more funds are looking to invest in sustainable markets."
"Opportunities are growing as the potential of environmental markets begins to be recognised and investors see the light."
Mr Jenkyn-Jones said there were solid, financial reasons to invest in the sector.
"The thing for people to realise is that this is an area of profitable, high growth markets," he said.
"Environmental legislation is only going in one direction - it's only going to get tighter - and that clearly favours companies that offer new solutions."
"This growth's being driven by the ever-tightening ratchet of legislation."
Water and waste markets were growing at double digit rates annually and made a very attractive investment opportunity, said Mr Jenkyn-Jones. He said he believed this situation was likely to go on and on, as more and more people in the world competed for less resources, and technologies that offered alternative solutions were likely to play an increasing role.
The investor went one step farther than saying environmental markets were as good as any other - he said they were better.
He was careful not to claim environmental markets were completely future proof, but said they were likely to prove immune to the cyclical nature of the economy and resist slumps in share prices better than conventional markets might.
The growing interest in the sector and its importance meant the environmental sector could mirror the boom of the IT industries in recent years.
"It gives these companies the opportunity to move out of niche applications where they have been historically, and into the mainstream where the real growth is happening," said Mr Jenkyn-Jones.
by Sam Bond
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