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MainePERS approves $200m agri investment, WSIB eyes $300m to same firm

Farmland and agribusiness investment manager Teays River is set for $500m of new commitments after MainePERS approved a $200m commitment and Washington State Investment Board is set to vote on a further $300m later this week.

The $12.75 billion Maine Public Employees’ Retirement System (MainePERS) has approved a $200 million commitment to Teays River Investments, a row and permanent crop farmland management company.

And the $105 billion Washington State Investment Board is set to vote on a similar $300 million commitment to the company later this week. This would take WSIB’s agri exposure to $1.1 billion, part of its $1.4 billion tangible assets programme.

MainePERS has also been building its agriculture exposure and Teays River is the latest in a $210 million splurge into agriculture-related investments over the past seven months. It was approved at the fund’s board meeting last Thursday, according to Andrew Sawyer, chief investment officer.

Teays River was established in 2009 initially as an investment fund with investment from TIAA-CREF, Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and Swedish pension AP Fonden 2 totaling $903 million. But it was re-structured into a company to reflect the long-term investment wishes of the investors and is now a co-investment structure.

The company invests in land, operations, logistics, facilities and processing associated with farming operations.

MainePERS also decided to hire Cambridge Associates as its general consultant during the recent board meeting.