Early commitments bolster A$500m Aus fund ahead of launch – exclusive

First Guardian Agriculture will raise $200m initially and already has up to A$100m in cornerstone commitments.

Australian agriculture asset manager First Guardian Agriculture (FG Agri) will soon launch a A$500 million ($439 million; €347 million) agribusiness fund. It will raise A$200 million for the first close.

The fund already has commitments of around A$50 million – A$100 million from cornerstone investors – and is currently finalising the fund’s structure, operating protocols and priorities, before formally launching fundraising in four weeks.

The firm will focus on getting commitments from China after it recently established an office in Beijing that will concentrate on the agriculture sector, according to a press release last week.

The fund, Diversified Agriculture Fund, will buy beef, sheep, dairy, grain and other agricultural and food assets such as aquaculture and wine in Australia and New Zealand. The aim is to feed the agricultural export markets, so beef cattle is likely to be the largest sector in the fund followed by grain.

The fund will focus on creating scale and vertical integration within each agriculture sector. It will be a five-to-eight year fund returning between 15 and 20 percent annually, according to the company’s website. Capital committed will be deployed within two months of receipt.

FG Agri is part of the First Guardian Group, a diversified Australian investment management, trading and export facilitation firm.