Private equity firm ADM Capital Europe has announced a $332 million final close for its Cibus Fund, raising an additional $130 million for co-investments.
The sustainable agribusiness fund has completed six investments to date, deploying $84 million plus an additional $23 million in co-investments. The vehicle targets sustainable food processing and production companies in North America, Europe and Australasia, the firm said. Its typical mid-market investment ranges from $20 million to $50 million.
The eight-year fund is targeting a 20 percent rate of return and aims to be invested in five to seven years. Its cornerstone investors include US-based insurance firm Arch Capital Group and an unnamed US-based pension fund, as well as private-client platforms, comprising high net worth individuals, in New York and Switzerland.
A key element of the vehicle, which was given Guernsey Green Fund status in October 2018 for its environmentally positive investments, is to leverage new technologies to help companies produce better quality products with fewer inputs, ADM Capital said.
Investments so far include $7 million in the US-based vertical farm business AeroFarms, which uses aeroponic indoor growing techniques to cut water and nutrient inputs by over 80 percent and is now fully commercialised. ADM Capital said it had also backed Rootility, a developer of innovative root-focused plant breeding and grafting methods with a focus on the tomato industry, and Innoliva, one of Europe’s largest extra virgin olive oil producers, that manages over 6,000 hectares of high-density olive groves in Spain and Portugal.
“The investments are performing well,” Robert Appleby, chief information officer and co-founder of ADM Capital told Agri Investor. “We are now one of the largest olive oil producers in Spain and Portugal using super high-density planting which enable 1,800-2,000 trees to be planted per hectare to produce high quality product.”
Alastair Cooper, head of early stage investing at the Cibus Fund, added there were a number of other investments in the pipeline. “These include disruptive technologies which replace, for example, the EU-banned neonicotinoid seed treatment for use on oilseeds to protect against cabbage stem flea beetle attacks, as well as a research project for an electronic probe technology that could replace the controversial herbicide active substance glyphosate used in crop production,” he said.
Appleby added: “Investors have embraced the opportunities provided by people’s changing diets, particularly backing companies addressing the global challenges of future food production, with less land, less water and a lighter ecological footprint. The six companies we have invested in have benefited from our technical competence and global connections.”