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MainePERS commits $50m to new NGP agribusiness fund

The fund being raised by NGP subsidiary Tillridge is likely to invest in businesses along the agribusiness supply chain.

Maine Public Employees Retirement System has made a commitment of up to $50 million to Tillridge Global Agribusiness Fund II, a new fund launched by the NGP Energy Capital Management subsidiary, according to the pension’s chief executive Andrew Sawyer.

The fund appears to be the second agribusiness co-mingled vehicle launched by the firm, after it closed NGP Global Agribusiness Partners on $402 million in 2015, 25 percent above its target. Neither Tillridge or Sawyer would reveal Fund II’s target.

Tillridge invests along the agribusiness value chain. Portfolio companies include grain and oil-seed processor Agspring, farmland investment firm Auxano and commodity ocean transport specialist Agriculture and Energy Carriers, which it founded with its parent company in 2012. It has also invested in animal protein nutrition company Novita and Brazilian fertiliser businesses Campo Rico.

Fund I focused on agri product distribution and services, commodity storage and merchandising, transportation and logistics, commodity processing, packaging and distribution, food and feed ingredient processing and food service manufacturing.

Tillridge’s managing director, Mark Zenuk, was previously a senior executive with Archer Daniels Midland and president of its Oilseeds Business Unit.

NGP Energy Capital Management, which has $13.71 billion in assets, under management began investing in the agribusiness sector in 2011.

MainePERS has made several commitments to agriculture since 2014, including $100 million to US Farming Realty Trust III; $50 million to the $250 million ACM Permanent Crops fund and $200 million to row and permanent crop farmland management company Teays River Investments. It also committed $150 million to timberland investment vehicle Twin Creeks, and most recently committed $50 million to Homestead Capital USA Farmland Fund II.

MainePERS is also an investor in the the $893 million food and agribusiness private equity fund Paine & Partners Capital Fund IV, which held a final close last year and is currently being invested.