Tikehau launches €200m agri-focused debt fund

The fund, which has held a €100m first close, is targeting deals of between €5m and €10m, as it targets a 4.5% IRR.

Tikehau Investment Managers (Tikehau IM) and Sofiprotéol, which was established to provide support to the French agricultural industry, have launched a debt fund targeting investments in agro-food and agro-industrial companies.

A first close on the fund was announced on 7 July, after €100 million was committed to the vehicle from a number of institutional investors as well as Tikehau IM and Sofiprotéol. The firm is targeting a €200 million final close. Although a representative from Tikehau IM said it has no deadline, it is expected to raise the money by the end of this year.

The mandate of the vehicle, Sofiprotéol Dette Privée, is to provide finance capital for French agricultural companies to support growth and development across the sector through either bullet loans or leveraged acquisition financing. Tikehau IM is tasked with managing the fund, while Sofiprotéol will provide industry expertise in sourcing deals.

“The scope is fairly large and the focus of the fund will be on both upstream and downstream sectors,” Cécile Mayer-Lévi, who works in private debt at Tikehau, told Agri Investor. “It will target already established companies with EBITDA starting at €4 million. The purpose is to propose long-term financing for [agri] food and agribusiness-related companies.”

Targeted ticket sizes range between €5 million and €10 million and the structure of the loans will cover stretched senior, unitranche and mezzanine as well as participating in leveraged loan syndication. The fund has a net return target of 4.5 percent. The partners are not working with placement agents or financial advisors.

Michel Boucly, deputy chief executive of Sofiprotéol, said: “The experience, flexibility and reactivity of Tikehau IM’s private debt team are decisive factors in the success of the Sofiprotéol Dette Privée fund and a recognised tool for financing the agro-food sector.”

Tikehau Capital, the parent company of Tikehau IM, has €8.6 billion of assets under management across its equity and debt departments. It employs more than 170 people across its offices located in Paris, Brussels, London, Milan and Singapore.

Sofiprotéol was established in 1983 to provide long-term support to the agricultural sector providing both equity and debt solutions. It is a subsidiary of Groupe Avril, an initiative set up by French farmers more than 30 years ago and is a financial group that generated €6 billion in revenue last year. It owns a number of high profile French brands including Diester, Sanders and Lesieur.