Cibus Capital acquires Alba Trees as part of natural capital strategy

Capital was deployed from the firm’s Fund II, which has raised $340m to date and has taken an $80m commitment from LACERA.

Cibus Capital has acquired British cell-grown tree producer Alba Trees. Financial details were undisclosed.

Capital was deployed from Cibus Fund II, which has raised $340 million to date and in 2022 took an $80 million commitment from the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association. Cibus declined to disclose the target size of the fund.

The firm’s flagship vehicle is in market alongside its venture capital Enterprise II Fund, which mainly targets opportunities in the agtech space.

Cibus Fund I closed on $322 million in 2019 and the Cibus Enterprise Fund I closed on $66 million in 2022.

The acquisition of Alba Trees by Cibus Fund II follows that of Withcott Seedlings in May 2022, which is a producer and supplier of vegetable seedlings to field and glasshouse growers across Eastern Australia.

Cibus Capital investment director Tom Ritchie said both investments are “part of Cibus’ natural capital strategy. Cibus Fund II’s investment in Withcott Seedlings in Australia is targeting a similar strategy and is being pivoted to include tree seedlings for carbon sequestration plantings,” he said.

Ritchie added: “[Fund II] has seven target sectors that it invests in. Controlled environment farming, permanent row crops, soil and crop health, animal health, human food and health, aquaculture and natural capital. This investment is categorized as both controlled environment farming and natural capital, and likely to link with soil and crop health.

Alba Trees produces and supplies cell-grown plants for sustainable forestry, native woodland and hedgerows. Cibus and Alba Trees aim to expand existing production “while focusing on best-in-class agronomy and precision technology to prioritize plant health, product quality and resource efficiency,” a statement said.

“A core focus for Cibus is environmental sustainability and ensuring it is addressed at every level of the supply chain,” added the statement. “This aim is shared with Alba and will be at the centre of the company’s future growth plans, aligning with the UK government’s ambitions to plant nearly a million hectares of new woodland in order to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Cibus Capital was currently looking to raise $340 million for Cibus Fund II, rather than stating that this is the amount raised to date.