US investment fund Equity Group Investments (EGI) has acquired a stake in ILTA Grain, a Canadian originator, processor and exporter of pulse crops backed by Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners, a spinout from NGP Energy Capital Management.
British Columbia-based ILTA processes and distributes pulses such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans, and exports them to customers in more than 40 countries. The company owns and operates seven processing plants in western Canada.
EGI declined to comment on the financial details or the size of the stake the firm has acquired.
Equity Group Investments is the private investment firm of US businessman Sam Zell, former owner of US newspapers the Los Angeles Time and Chicago Tribune.“We are attracted to the long-term growth trend of this industry. ILTA is a high-quality, low-cost leader with advanced facilities and a seasoned leadership team. We look forward to partnering with management and the existing investors to continue to drive growth and value,” said Zell.
EGI said demand for pulses, which are GMO-free, gluten-free, and a cost-efficient source of protein and fiber, is growing steadily due to population growth in emerging markets and consumer preferences for healthier lifestyles in developed countries.
Canada is the largest exporter of pulses in the world, representing 60 percent of global pulse exports.
The original investment in ILTA was made by Texas-based NGP Energy Capital Management. In 2015 a number of investment professionals spun-out from NGP and formed Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners. ILTA is listed among current investments on Tillridge’s website.
Last week Novita Nutrition, an animal nutrition business backed by Tillridge Global Agribusiness Partners, opened its first production facility.