8F holds $61m first close on Southeast Asia aquaculture fund

A final close is expected within months, 8F Asset Management said, with further funds focused on the Middle East and China to follow soon.

8F Asset Management, the impact investment firm behind land-based aquaculture company Pure Salmon, has reached a first close on its second fund.

The Singapore-headquartered firm has raised $61 million for the first close of its 8F Aquaculture Southeast Asia Fund, which is targeting $120 million.

Capital raised for the fund will be used for the construction and operation of a “recircling aquaculture system” in Brunei with the capacity to produce 10,000 tons of salmon per year.

The Southeast Asia Fund is a successor vehicle to 8F’s Fund I, which closed oversubscribed in 2020 on $358 million. Capital from that fund was used to establish and fund operations for Pure Salmon in the US, France and Japan, which exclusively farms salmon using land-based production.

8F’s strategy is unusual in that it is a private equity firm focused on a single portfolio company, Pure Salmon. New vehicles focused on the Middle East and China will follow soon, 8F partner Yoram Layani told Agri Investor, with the raises launched “almost in parallel” to the Southeast Asia Fund.

“We go by market – the idea is to have local production for local consumption,” Layani explained. “One of the big issues for salmon is the supply chain, as you can only produce Atlantic salmon in very cold water,” which requires air freight.

“The idea is to produce fish entirely outside of the ocean, so you have zero impact on the environment – and if it is local production you don’t have to generate a huge carbon footprint flying your fish around the world. This plays a big role in our choice of location and target markets.”

Layani said a final close for the Southeast Asia Fund would likely come within a few months.

The firm struck a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office earlier this year to move Pure Salmon’s headquarters to the emirate.

“We have four sovereign wealth funds backing us now – two in Southeast Asia and two in the Middle East – as well as pension funds in Europe and the US, and a large insurance company in Europe,” Layani said. Also participating are strategic ag investors such as Louis Dreyfus and feed manufacturer Nutreco.

Agri Investor reported in April 2020 that 8F’s upcoming China-focused vehicle would seek to raise approximately $700 million in two buckets, one RMB-denominated that’s domiciled in China and another domiciled offshore raising USD from overseas investors. 8F was unable to comment on specific future fundraising plans.

8F was founded in 2016 by Stephane Farouze, former chairman of alternatives for Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management; Karim Ghannam, former head of alternative and fund solutions for Asia-Pacific at Deutsche Bank; and Martin Fothergill, former global head of multi-asset products at DB.