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Liquid plans Brazil agri fund launch in Q3

The UK-based firm is set to launch a $250m private equity fund investing into coconuts and neem in Brazil and is targeting family offices and high net worth individuals for the first close.

Liquid Investments, the Brazil-focused alternatives investment manager, is set to launch a $250 million private equity fund during the third quarter of the year.

The firm is aiming for a $100 million first close, completing the remainder in a second phase. It is targeting family offices and high net worth individuals for a minimum investment of $1 million each, although these investors are expected to commit around $10 million each, according to Anthony Archer, co-founder and chief executive of Liquid.

The firm is focusing on getting early commitments from US-based investors as anchor investors, he added.

The 10-year fund will invest into coconut and neem plantations in Brazil and will own and manage the assets through a joint venture with Cohibra, one of the largest plantations owners and managers in the country. Brazilian foreign ownership rules restrict foreigners from owning more than 49 percent of any land over a certain size, depending on the size of the state.

The vertically integrated fund will grow, manage and sell the coconuts and neem onto the end customer such as drinks companies that sell coconut water, or animal feed companies that use neem as a pesticide.

Neem is a berry that has various other uses including mosquito repellent, skin care products and oil. It is native of India but grows well in Brazil, according to Archer. The firm came across the plant while looking for an organic pesticide for coconut trees, he added.

Liquid Investments opened an office in Fortaleza in Northeast Brazil in 2009 when it started looking at various investment opportunities in the country’s agriculture sector. Coconuts and neem fit the bill because they each had various different uses, according to Archer.

Archer’s co-founder and the company’s chief operating officer is Andrew Goodman, who is based in Fortaleza; Archer is based in the UK. Sandeep Chadha, the chief financial officer, joined Liquid in early 2012 after running his own financial and investment consultancy firm, managing wealth for high net worth individuals.

Wayne Kurtz is the chief commercial officer, joining Liquid in 2013 from Karlsberg International Insurance Corp where he was president and chief executive between 2011 and 2013. He has also worked at Aon Consulting.

James Duckworth is the chief research officer and has worked at various banks and brokerages, predominantly in Asia, including Investec. Simon Hills is head of business development joining Liquid in 2013 from Spectron Group where he was a commodities broker. Before this he was senior partner at Oceanus Wealth.

The firm uses PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Baker McKenzie as advisors and lawyers.