Fund Manager of the Year
WINNER: AXA IM Alts
RUNNER UP: CVC Capital Partners
AXA IM Alts built on its three wins in the 2021 Agri Investor Global Awards courtesy of its La Forêt de la Reine and Green Triangle Forest Products timberland deals to land the Fund Manager of the Year Europe award for 2022. The firm started the year by becoming a founding shareholder of French start-up The Shared Wood Company, which will develop carbon offset projects in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Bigger things were to come later in the year as AXA IM Alts launched a new natural capital strategy in September, which raised €500 million from existing investors. The pool of capital will target investments that can address climate change and biodiversity loss by trying to protect “vulnerable or high-value natural habitats” from deforestation, a statement said.
Institutional Investor of the Year
RUNNER UP: Essex Pension Fund
AXA was able to take home the European Institutional Investor of the Year award for largely the same reasons it won this year’s Global Impact Investor of the Year award. Alongside Tikehau Capital and Unilever, AXA launched a €1 billion impact fund that will focus on regenerative farming, contributing €100 million as part of a total €300 million seed commitment from the three partners. The fund will seek to enable a wider transition to regenerative farming.
Equity Fundraising of the Year
WINNER: Anterra Capital
RUNNER UP: AXA IM Alts
Dutch firm Anterra Capital closed its second food and agriculture technology fund on $260 million in May, as it eclipsed its original $230 million hard-cap. The firm launched Anterra FA Ventures II in February 2021, and by May it had hit its $175 million target for the vehicle and was oversubscribed following the extension of the hard-cap. The fund will invest in seed and series stage agtech start-ups, developing innovative on-farm solutions, as well as targeting more speculative innovations that could transform food and agriculture. Managing partner Adam Anders told Agri Investor that LPs have directly invested a further $150 million into the firm’s portfolio companies, all of which is separate to the capital held by the vehicle.
Deal of the Year
WINNER: International Woodland Company (BNP Paribas Asset Management)
RUNNER UP: Treehouse Foods Meal Preparation (Investindustrial)
BNP Paribas Asset Management acquired a majority stake in Danish timberland and farmland investment firm International Woodland Company in December, in a deal where financial details were undisclosed. IWC was founded more than 30 years ago and has $5.7 billion in assets under management, $4.8 billion of which is dedicated to institutional timberland mandates. The acquisition is part of BNPP AM’s efforts to expand its private markets and sustainable investment offering to meet “the needs of investors who are increasing allocations to sustainable private investment strategies,” a statement said. IWC expanded into agriculture in 2017 and also provides ecosystems services including carbon credits and conservation projects.
Agribusiness Deal of the Year
WINNER: Ekaterra (CVC Capital Partners)
RUNNER UP: Saratoga Food Specialties (Astorg)
CVC Capital Partners completed the €4.5 billion acquisition of Unilever’s global tea business Ekaterra in July 2022. One of the largest tea businesses in the world, Ekaterra has a portfolio of 34 brands including Lipton, PG Tips, Pukka, T2 and TAZO. The business generated revenues of around €2 billion in 2020. CVC Capital Partners managing partner Pev Hooper said in a statement: “Ekaterra is a great business, built on strong foundations of leading brands and a purpose-driven approach to its products, people and communities. Ekaterra is well positioned in an attractive market to accelerate its future growth, and to lead the category’s sustainable development.”