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Temasek touts agri growth as part of long-term focus

The $197bn sovereign wealth fund groups agriculture together with life sciences, technology and three other sectors that its says reflect a rebalancing in favor of long-term opportunities.

Agribusiness is one of six focus areas that have together grown 16 percent in six years as a share of Temasek’s overall portfolio, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund said in its annual report released Tuesday.

In addition to agribusiness, the other new focus areas mentioned in the report include technology, life sciences, non-bank financial services, consumer and energy & resources. Collectively, these sectors have gone from constituting 8 percent of the Temasek  portfolio in 2011 to 24 percent last year, according to the statement.

“We have continued to rebalance our holdings towards longer-term macro opportunities, such as the transforming economies, as well as emerging new trends, such as the digital enablers for new business,” Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng said in the report. “The strength of our balance sheet enables us to undertake large projects which have longer gestation periods.”

Among the agricultural investments highlighted in the report are Brazilian microbial fertilizer producer SuperBAC, vegetable seeds producer VoloAgri Group and Impossible Foods, which sells plant-based products designed to mimic meat and dairy products.

“Impossible Foods makes burger patties out of alternative protein sources, and by the way, I’ve had a few of their burgers, and even as a very long-standing meat lover, I can tell you: they taste really good,” head of strategy and senior managing director Michael Buchanon said at a media event for the report’s release, according to a transcript on Temasek’s website.

Temasek’s other recent agricultural investments include  participation in a group investment of $150 million in French malting company Boormalt and a $40 million Series D funding round for alternative feed ingredient producer Calysta. In addition, Temasek was among the LPs in Beijing-headquartered Hosen Capital’s agribusiness-focused Hosen Fund III, which closed on $440 million in March.

Overall, Temasek reported 9.25 percent returns, in US dollar terms, on $12 billion in investment and $13 billion in divestment for the year ending March 31.