Canadian fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has made an investment backing Datamars, a leading provider of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for cattle.
The amount of the investment could not be learned by press time, but CDPQ said in a statement that it will become the company’s largest shareholder. Columna Capital has also held a stake in the company since 2011.
A form of electronic identification (EID), RFID provides a means to track the supply of meat, from calf to consumer, in one computerized database, and it has gained popularity among investors amid growing concerns regarding traceability.
“Datamars’ management has been very successful in developing the company into a global leader in animal identification,” said CDPQ’s Stéphane Etroy, co-head of direct investment, private equity, in a statement. “Traceability has become an indispensable part of the agri-food sector given increasing food safety concerns worldwide, with identification as its linchpin.”
A study led by the University of Bucharest noted that global use of RFID systems has risen as private-sector food firms seek to improve food supply management; facilitate food traceability, safety and quality; and market foods with subtle quality differences.
It has become a mandatory form of livestock management in Canada, Australia and parts of Europe, while the US has expanded its use significantly in place of traditional hot branding and simpler plastic tagging, according to the report.
“Operating in an industry driven by fundamental trends, such as increasing global concerns regarding food safety, Datamars offers strong growth opportunities and is well-aligned with CDPQ’s long-term investment strategy,” the CDPQ statement read.
Bedano, Switzerland-based Datamars also produces RFID for pets and textile markets, employing more than 800 people with offices in Europe, Asia and the Americas. CDPQ is a long-term institutional investor managing funds primarily for pensions and insurance plans. The company held $270.7 billion in net assets as of year-end 2016.