Proterra Brazil fund reaches $100m first close

A vehicle focused on the purchase of farmland in Brazil from the Cargill spin-out has reached a $100m first close and has a target of $500m.

Proterra Investment Partners has raised more than $100 million for a vehicle devoted to the purchase of agricultural land in Brazil, according to a regulatory filing shown last week.

The Proterra Brazil Opportunity Fund B has a target of $500 million and raised $101 million from 11 investors since its first commitment on May 5, according to the filing.

A separate filing shown on the same day revealed that Proterra has raised $101 million from nine investors for a separate Brazil-focused vehicle.

A Proterra representative declined to comment.

One issue Proterra is likely to encounter in pursuing the farmland acquisition strategy described on its website in Brazil is whether there is any relaxation of existing government restrictions on outright ownership of agricultural land by foreigners.

At an April discussion at the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, moderator Thomas DeCoene of Global Capital Access called reports that Brazil would move to eliminate the restrictions “the elephant in the room”.

Brookfield Brazil managing director and senior vice president Renato Cavalini pointed to President Michel Temer’s move to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of Brazilian airlines as an indication that land ownership rules might be relaxed, but said that large investors had already found ways to work within existing restrictions.

“For those who are not deeply involved with the subject, it’s tough to understand. For those who have been involved for many years, this is not an issue anymore,” he said. “This is not part of the discussion with our investors or our shareholders.”

Proterra was spun out from Cargill subsidiary Black River Asset Management in 2016, retaining all related funds’ limited partners following their exit from Black River. The firm pursues distinct strategies in food, farmland and metals and mining and is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last month, the emerging markets-focused firm made a $100 million investment into FKS Food and Agri, an Indonesian food and agribusiness firm. Earlier in May, Proterra sold its stake in Indian fresh dairy product provider Dodla Dairy to TPG’s The Rise Fund for $50 million.