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AMERRA Agri III raises more than $500m – exclusive

The capital includes a recent $30m pledge from the University of Michigan Regents, with soft commitments pushing the debt fund above $500m.

AMERRA’s third fund has raised over $500 million, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The capital commitments include more than $400 million of hard pledges, with soft and pending commitments pushing the total above $500 million, the source said.

A November SEC filing placed raised equity for the secured debt-focused AMERRA Agri Fund III at $97 million. Since then, it has attracted public commitments of $30 million from the University of Michigan Board of Regents and two commitments of $50 million each from Maine Public Employees Retirement System and Texas Municipal Retirement System.

The fund is targeting $750 million, and will primarily pursue agribusiness projects in Latin America. Minimum investment for the fund is $1 million, according to SEC documents.

As reported by Agri Investor, University of Michigan Board of Regents chief financial officer Kevin Hegarty wrote that the withdrawal of big banks from the Latin American agribusiness sector, due to new regulations on risk-related capitalisation requirements, creates an opportunity for knowledgeable private investors in the sector.

Investors have told Agri Investor that tightening credit and a devalued currency have created opportunities for favourable terms in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. In Colombia, improved rural security and a growing urban professional class are creating opportunities for agribusiness in both the export and domestic markets.

AMERRA was launched as a joint venture between investment manager M D Sass and Macquarie Financial Strategies in 2009 to provide financing to agriculture and metal companies in the Americas. It has $1.5 billion in assets under management.

The firm had plans to launch a pure equity agri-focused fund, as reported by Agri Investor in 2015. However, AMERRA representatives have declined to comment on whether a launch is imminent, citing SEC regulations prohibiting marketing of funds.