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ESG research agencies Vigeo and EIRIS announce merger



Vigeo and EIRIS, two established ESG research agencies from France and the United Kingdom, will merge to create a single European agency with a with a strong network of partners around the world.

Through the complementary nature of their expertise, their combined geographical presence and the coverage of their research, this new group, with its expanded portfolio of clients, will profit from a unique strategic position in the SRI market.

The mobilisation around climate change, marked by COP21 and the energy transition challenges, make it more necessary than ever to shift economies and investment practices towards more sustainable and responsible models. In this respect, Vigeo and EIRIS, with their combined expertise and services, are perfectly positioned to meet the changing needs of both investors and issuers.

The Sustainable and Responsible Investment market has been characterised in recent years by profound changes. Double digit growth in the European and US markets, the developing maturity of financial actors and the growing level of activity in Emerging Market regions are just some of the factors which have made this market fiercely competitive.

Companies and financial actors are now global in nature requiring access to diverse and detailed levels of information and analysis. This points to the need for an actor capable of developing a world class offer.

Independent SRI consultant John Fleetwood of 3D Investing said: “Both are leading providers of analysis tools in their respective markets – EIRIS in the UK and Vigeo in continental Europe.  A merger makes a lot of sense as together, the merged entity will be able to offer a broader range of services.”

This merger marks the start of a new strategic phrase for both Vigeo and EIRIS. It will result in the consolidation of existing market shares, notably in Europe and the United States. It will also lead to the establishment of a truly global research partnership that will provide the new group with a critical mass and strong prospects for future growth.

Vigeo has raised 6.3 million Euros in new capital. This will be used in part for the financing of the EIRIS acquisition, but also to ensure that the new entity will have the funds necessary for future Vigeo-EIRIS investments. The shareholding structure of the entity will remain unchanged and be based around three colleges (companies, investors and civil society).

The EIRIS Foundation will be incorporated into the civil society college and hold 20% of the capital in the new entity. The headquarters will remain in Paris with Peter Webster and Stephen Hine serving on the Executive Committee alongside the President of Vigeo, Nicole Notat.

Marking this historic occasion, Nicole Notat stated: “This merger makes sense. It allows both agencies to undertake a meaningful shift in their size at the moment when the RI market is developing, diversifying and growing in maturity.”

Peter Webster from EIRIS confirmed this, stating: “Both parties have proud histories and have achieved many things independently. But this merger creates many new opportunities for ourselves and our clients. By combining our strengths, Vigeo – EIRIS will contribute in a significant way to the development of responsible investment around the world.”

Both agencies are leaders in their markets with strong potential for further growth. The two agencies will build upon on their reputations and strong brand names, as well as on their skills that have produced innovative methodologies and technologies. With a team of 180 employees, the new entity will analyse up to 10,000 issuers.

The pooling of their resources and tools will further broaden the coverage of issuers rated on an annual basis to better serve the growing needs of their clients.

Based on methodologies that are synergetic and complementary, Vigeo – EIRIS will offer a wide product suite tailored to the needs of a range of global investors.

The reach of this new player, present from North America to Australia, Europe to South Korea, will allow it to play a leading role in promoting relations between issuers and investors going forward.