Aqua Capital’s second fund nears $350m hard cap

The Agribusiness Latin America II Fund has raised $349.05m and is understood to target annual returns of more than 20 percent by focusing on mid-market food and agribusinesses across Latin America.

Aqua Capital, a Sao Paulo-based private equity firm, is nearing a final close on its second fund, according to a regulatory filing shown Tuesday.

The Agribusiness Latin America II Fund has raised $349.05 million — just shy of its $350 million hard cap — from a total of 25 investors since its first sale last March, according to the filing.

A previous filing from March 2016 revealed that up until that point the fund had secured $188 million from nine investors.

An investment document from the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) seen by Agri Investor lists the Agribusiness Latin America Fund II among its active investments as of November 2016.

A market source told Agri Investor last month that Aqua expected to close the fund in the second quarter and hopes to produce annual returns of more than 20 percent.

The source said the fund will establish up to eight sector specific platforms of between $20 million and $75 million and that each platform will look to make one or two control equity investments of between $5 million and $30 million. Aqua Capital declined to comment.

The inputs sector is expected to be a main focus for the fund while geographically, the source said, Brazil will be a focal point, with a secondary focus on Argentina, Peru, Chile and Colombia.

Last year, founding partner Sebastian Popik told Agri Investor that while the firm has made downstream investments, the firm’s true focus has remained further up the value chain.

“We’ve always been focused more on the upstream, strategically structured side of the agribusiness sector,” he said. “I think that emphasis is greater now, because that’s the part of the economy that has gained in competitiveness, and the downstream has suffered.”

The firm’s debut fund surpassed its $150 million target to close on $173 million in October 2013 with commitments from the Inter-American Development Bank, Corporacion Andina de Fomento in Venezuela and other investors located in the US, the Middle East and Latin America.

Aqua Capital was founded in 2009 and focuses on companies with between $15 million and $150 million in annual revenues within the agribusiness, food and logistics sectors of Brazil and other South American countries. Portfolio companies include tilapia producer GeneSeas, specialty fertilizer producer Fertilaqua and Rural Brasil, an inputs distributor and grain originator in Brazil’s Cerrado region.