AgCAP seeks A$220m for Australian farmland investment

Australian sustainable-focused investment group AgCAP is seeking A$220m for its Sustainable Agriculture Fund.

Australian sustainable-focused investment group AgCAP is seeking A$220 million ($168 million; €148.3 million) for its Sustainable Agriculture Fund.

Sources close to the asset manager told Agri Investor the fund is seeking new commitments from institutional investors to expand its diverse portfolio of Australian farmland after returning A$13.4 million in 2016, with cotton cropping and beef constituting the most profitable areas for the fund.

With a portfolio of nearly 28,000 hectares of Australian farmland operating cropping, livestock and dairy businesses, the fund will look to use A$150 million to buy up new farmland, according to local media. Funds will come from some of its current investors and new LPs AgCAP has been in talks with.

Current AgCAP investors include AustralianSuper, Christian Super, Catholic Superannuation, the University of Melbourne Endowment Fund and investment firm AMP Capital, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

The group said earlier this year that its diversified approach helped it maintain dairy production levels despite sharp declines in milk prices.

“We have operations in grain, cotton, beef as well as dairy. This smooths out some of the cyclical elements of our industry and this affords us the opportunity to manage through subdued prices and difficult seasons rather than acting reactively to short-term events,” said chief executive Margin Newnham in a statement in May.

The Sustainable Agriculture Fund clinched a $145 million raise in 2009, the only value of assets under management AgCAP has disclosed to date.

The fund, which says it only employs sustainable agricultural practices, lists five agricultural operations in its portfolio located in New South Wales and Western Victoria, Australia and King Island and Cradle Coast, Tasmania, according to the company website.