Solar, scooters, drinks: the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Québec’s other bad bets

Not only in cryptocurrency, the Caisse de depot made a bad bet. Investments in solar energy, beverages and electric scooters are also doing badly.

• Also read: Average compensation of the 1,454 employees of the Caisse de dépôt: average bonuses of $129,000

• Also read: Banned Accounts: Celsius Network customers were able to get their marbles back

Indian company Azure Power Global’s share price plummeted more than 65% this week after it was announced that its CEO Harsh Shah surprisingly departed.

Additionally, Azure has again delayed the release of its most recent financial statements due to a “review of its internal control and compliance systems.”

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Indian company in trouble

Finally, the solar company announced that it had received denunciations from a whistleblower, leading to the discovery of “manipulation of data and information by certain employees”.

The problem is that the Caisse owns 53% of Azure. The value of this holding, one of the largest in the renewable energy space, has shrunk 82% in a year, from $946 million to just $167 million — a paper loss of $779 million.

François Dauphin, executive director of the Institute on Governance, notes that preventing employee fraud is not easy, but he concedes that Azure should have had more vigilant risk management teams.

minority on the board

Although the Caisse de depot owns more than 50% of Azure, it only has two representatives on the company’s board (out of nine members in total).

“In such cases we rely heavily on external auditors, maybe a bit too much,” says Mr. Dauphin.

In a statement released earlier this week, Azure’s board of directors tried to reassure investors by saying they “believe Azure’s business remains fundamentally healthy.”

The Caisse did not respond to interview requests from the Caisse yesterday protocol with its Vice Presidents of Risk Management, Claude Bergeron, and Infrastructure, Emmanuel Jaclot.

The fund’s move into renewable energy coincided with its exit from the oil sector, most of which was conducted over the past year ahead of the rise in crude oil prices.

Other misfires

The Caisse de depot is also having difficulties with two other notable investments.

She bet $50 million on urban scooter network Bird in 2019 and $200 million on health drink maker Zevia in 2020.

Bird’s stock is down 95% since its IPO in November, while Zevia’s stock is down 68% since its July 2021 IPO.

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