CDPQ leads C$300m raise for Canadian dairy processor

The re-up by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is part of the pension fund's strategy to draw stable, long-term returns from consumer staples.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has led a C$300 million ($215 million; €198 million) funding round into Canadian dairy processing co-operative Agropur. The pension  was joined by the National Bank of Canada, regional development funds Fonds de Solidarite FTQ, Investissement Québec, Capital Regional et Cooperatif Desjardins, and pension Fondaction CSN.

The raise comes almost a year to the day after the dairy cooperative announced a C$470 million raise from the same investor group. Agropur will use the capital to grow its operations outside Quebec, according to a press release.

Spokesman for CDPQ, Jean-Benoît Houde, said the firm sees investment in dairy processing as a way to grow its exposure to the consumer staples sector.

“Regular consumption of dairy products gives this industry attractive stability and predictability for an investor like CDPQ, which is seeking returns over the long term,” Houde told Agri Investor.

Houde added that the firm actively looks to invest in high-performing businesses across all sectors.

Agropur operates 40 dairy processing plants across North America. The company processed more than 5.4 billion litres in 2014, according to the company website. The co-operative partners with nearly 3,500 dairy producers.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. At 30 June, 2015, it held C$240.8 billion ($173 billion) in net assets. CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate.