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Temasek and Unigrains back €150m investment in Boortmalt

The Singapore sovereign wealth fund and the French agri-business investor were joined in their backing of the French malting business by sugar co-operative Tereos.

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, French agri-business investor Unigrains and French sugar co-operative Tereos have invested €150m in Boortmalt, the malting subsidiary of Axereal Group, France’s biggest grain cooperative.

The company said the investment will be used to support the growth of Boortmalt by increasing its production capacities, boosting volumes exported from its processing unit in Antwerp and becoming directly involved in producing barley and malts in Africa and Asia.

A spokesman for Unigrains told Agri Investor that Axereal remains the majority owner of Boortmalt following the deal. He declined to comment on the respective ownership stakes taken by the three investors.

“Our aim is to reinforce our cooperative group, which is made up of two pillars, agriculture and food processing, by further adding value through downstream processing activities. Axereal can now pursue its growth targets and continue to offer its cooperative members a secure and efficient service, without losing its place as majority shareholder. By investing in food processing, we are both ensuring access to the cereals and barley market for our members and creating value,” Axereal chairman Jean-François Loiseau said.

Boortmalt operates 10 malting plants in Europe, including its Antwerp site, which is the largest in Europe, and produces 1.1 million tonnes of malt a year which it sells to brewing and distilling companies, craft brewers and distillers.

Temasek, which has assets under management of S$242 billion ($180bn; €158bn), is an active investor in the agri sector with interests including a stake in Hong Kong-listed pork producer WH Group and in Calysta, a California-based company developing alternative feed ingredients for fish, livestock and pets. The state-backed investor is also an LP in agri-focused funds, most recently committing to Hosen Capital Fund III, a Chinese fund which held a final close on $440 million in March this year

Unigrains, which is owned by major cereal producers, makes annual investments of around €70m to €100m in SMEs and larger companies.