Australian and Chinese PE firms partner to launch new investment platform

Agriculture is one of several asset classes under consideration for the Australia China Family Office Alliance which has launched with A$50m of seed capital.

A group of Australian private equity firms has partnered with Chinese high-net-worth wealth manager Noah Holdings to launch a new platform to invest in both countries, with agriculture one of the asset classes under consideration.

The Australia China Family Office Alliance was launched this week at an event in Melbourne attended by more than 100 high-net-worth Chinese investors, as well as the platform’s founding partners: Victor Smorgon Group, Regal Funds Management, Bennelong Asset Management, Artesian Capital, The Eights Private Equity and RF Capital.

The platform is currently structured as an aggregator, with the platform directing funds through to investment managers and the products they provide. The structure will likely evolve as the platform grows.

ACFO will be led by a partnership of Australia-based Voltaire Partners and New York-listed Noah Holdings, headed by Voltaire Partners managing director Jonathan Belz and Noah Holdings’ Australia CEO Grace Tsui. Belz told Agri Investor that the platform had a fundraising target of A$500 million ($358 million; €315 million) “over the next few years”.

It has launched with A$50 million in seed capital from several Australian and Chinese families.

While the platform is still in the early stages of development, several partners already have interests in Australian agriculture, meaning it is one of the asset classes under active consideration for deployment.

“We are actively pursuing agri-related and agri-tech targets, and we are very much live to the opportunities in that sector. Some of ACFO’s founding partners already have substantial investments in the agri space,” Belz said. “Chinese investors are very interested in Australian agriculture.”

The platform will be used to make investments in both Australia and China, and Belz said Noah Holdings’ involvement would provide specific expertise on accessing that market. Chinese private equity will be a focus in that country.

“Noah’s team has significant experience, track record and expertise in investing in Chinese businesses, and they have dozens of researchers constantly assessing opportunities as they arise,” he said.

Agriculture is one of multiple asset classes under consideration for investment, with infrastructure, real estate, healthcare, private lending and technology also being assessed.