Agri Investor Awards 2022 – Asia-Pacific winners

Warakirri Asset Management was 2021’s runner-up for the Asia-Pacific Fund Manager of the Year award but takes home the top prize for 2022.

Fund Manager of the Year

WINNER: Warakirri Asset Management

RUNNER UP: Roc Partners

Warakirri Asset Management wins the award for Fund Manager of the Year in the Asia-Pacific region for the first time, recognition for a year of strong deployment, well-executed dealmaking and excellent on-farm performance. The firm deployed more than A$600 million ($398 million; €375 million) up to end of November 2022 when awards entries closed, signing deals to acquire 36 properties across 17 separate transactions, covering more than 65,000 hectares across Australia. In total, Warakirri has more than A$3 billion in funds under management or committed, with a diverse portfolio of assets across a range of commodities in six Australian states – and 2022 saw the firm’s funds achieve one of its best-returning years to vindicate its strategy with investors.

Institutional Investor of the Year

WINNER: Clean Energy Finance Corporation

RUNNER UP: PSP Investments

Fighting off competition from PSP Investments, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation retained its crown as the Asia-Pacific Institutional Investor of the Year. The Australian government-backed organization continued to build on its longstanding focus on agriculture-related emissions by expanding investments in natural capital. This ranged from providing discounted finance for energy-efficiency improvements in agricultural production to making large-scale equity investments in specialist agriculture funds. It also became the first industry supporter of the Australian Carbon Industry Code of Conduct, aiming to promote further investment in carbon reduction.

Equity Fundraising of the Year 

WINNER: Proterra Asia

RUNNER UP: Roc Partners

Proterra Asia, the Asian subsidiary of global fund manager Proterra Investment Partners, wins its first Agri Investor Award for Equity Fundraising of the Year, Asia-Pacific. The firm held a final close of more than $200 million for the third in its Food Fund series – the firm’s first Singapore-registered fund and one that will invest through a Singapore VCC fund structure for the first time. The fund’s strategy is broadly similar to its two predecessor vehicles: finding businesses that capitalize on the accelerating consumer demand from growing urban populations and a new generation of consumers in Asia that is looking for safe, high-quality food products.

Deal of the Year

WINNER: Perfection Fresh (Equilibrium, PSP Investments, Temasek)

RUNNER UP: Angel Seafood (Laguna Bay)

In March 2022, a consortium led by US-based fund manager Equilibrium and backed by PSP Investments and Temasek, acquired a majority stake in Perfection Fresh, one of Australia’s largest privately owned produce companies and one of the country’s biggest players in controlled-environment agriculture. The firm owns glasshouses, table grape vineyards, citrus orchards and berry farms across Australia, and the deal was a statement of intent by Equilibrium as it entered the Asia-Pacific market for the first time. With heavyweight backing in place, Perfection Fresh is now poised to target growth in both Australia and the wider region.

Farmland Deal of the Year

WINNER: Casella Family vineyards (PSP Investments)

RUNNER UP: Yarrabee Park (PSP Investments, Warakirri Asset Management, goFARM Australia)

In winning our award for Global Institutional Investor of the Year for the past two years, PSP Investments has gained recognition for its dealmaking ability in agriculture and natural resources around the world. Its deal to acquire the Casella family’s portfolio of vineyards in South Australia and New South Wales demonstrates what PSP does best – leveraging its expertise to create a portfolio of scale. PSP’s Southern Premium Vineyards, its Australian vineyards platform, executed this deal, which saw the firm acquire more than 7,500 hectares of vineyards to take the SPV portfolio to more than 10,000 hectares, making it a considerable player in the Australian market.

Farmland Fund Manager of the Year

WINNER: Proterra Investment Partners

RUNNER UP: Warakirri Asset Management

The sale of Vaucluse in the Australian state of Tasmania helped cement Proterra Investment Partners’ position as Asia-Pacific Farmland Fund Manager of the Year. This exit, led by managing director Becs Willson, generated another strong return for investors following the sale of the huge Corinella portfolio at the end of 2021. But it’s also the ongoing strong performance of the firm’s on-farm asset management that has secured it recognition, with a strong growing season on both Vaucluse and its remaining Australian assets continuing to ensure that investors are receiving a solid return.

Agribusiness Deal of the Year

WINNER: Chromy Estate (Warakirri Asset Management)

RUNNER UP: Angel Seafood (Laguna Bay)

Warakirri’s deal to acquire Chromy Estate in the Australian state of Tasmania takes a second award, adding the regional Asia-Pacific Deal of the Year to its Global award. This transaction saw Warakirri add high-quality vineyard and winery assets to its growing diversified portfolio, with the asset initiating a complex three-way transaction between itself, the vendor and hospitality business Endeavour Group. Warakirri took ownership of the physical assets and agreed a long-term lease on them with Endeavour – while the latter also purchased the Josef Chromy Wines brand for its own fine wine portfolio.