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Brent Snow says Aware Super’s ag investments proved to be a useful diversifier in its infrastructure portfolio during the coronavirus pandemic.
The open-ended fund plans to devote 20% of its investments to farmland infrastructure and timber investments in the US, LatAm, Europe and Australasia.
The pension has been drawn to ag because the pandemic showed the importance of the food supply chain and few investors are targeting the opportunity.
The firm will raise its first commingled fund focused on food after managing several investments in the sector since spinning out from Macquarie in 2014.
Foreign ownership of Australian farmland increased last year but remained flat as a percentage of the overall total, with China holding the most land.
Primewest will use part of the A$60m raised in an institutional placement to make a cornerstone investment in its first agriculture fund.
Investors Mutual, which holds a 3.6% stake in Vitalharvest, has expressed concern about the value of MIRA’s bid for Vitalharvest, alleging a lack of transparency.
Managing director Bill Reiman says covid-19 disruption delayed deal closures but increasing farmer interest in sale/leaseback helped the firm match its 2019 capital spend.
The latest figures from the Australian Farmland Index showed good returns for investors in 2020, only falling slightly from the same period one year earlier.
A trade dispute between China and Australia emerged in 2020, with the latter on the receiving end of threats of import suspensions and tariffs. A report from Rural Bank shows the extent to which each commodity could be affected.
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