Best of 2015: Black River attracts nearly $1.3bn to food and agri funds

The private equity arm of Cargill has closed two funds: Black River Agriculture Fund 2 on $587m and Black River Food Fund 2 on $700m.

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Black River Asset Management, the alternatives fund management arm of agribusiness giant Cargill, has closed two agri-related funds totaling $1.287 billion, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

The Black River Agriculture Fund 2, an own-and-operate farmland fund, investing primarily in row crops in Australia and Latin America, attracted commitments and co-investments totaling $587 million. Fund 2, which closed last November, follows the $194 million Agriculture Fund 1 which closed in January 2011.

Also in November, the Black River Food Fund 2, a private equity fund focusing on investing into the food and agribusiness value chain, closed on $700 million, its hard cap. It is understood that a large number of investors from Food Fund 1, which closed on $455 million in 2011, returned to invest in the second fund, according to Dutch pension fund PGGM. The Dutch pension invested between 50 million and 100 million into each fund, a spokesperson told Agri Investor earlier this week.

“As with the first food fund, the investment strategy targets scalable businesses and seeks to partner with best-in-class local operators in emerging markets,” reads Tuesday’s press release. “The fund strives to invest in sustainable high-margin opportunities underpinned by growing local demand and a favorable supply-and-demand outlook.”

Food Fund examples include raw milk production in China and India, poultry production in Thailand and beef production in Brazil, Michelle Tressel, spokesperson for Black River, told Agri Investor. There are no pure agricultural land production assets in the fund, however.

The firm did not use a placement agent for either of the funds, she added.

Reporting by Louisa Burwood-Taylor.