Proterra mops up $300m for latest agri fund targeting North America

Agricultural paddy

Private equity (PE) firm Proterra Investment Partners, formerly Black River Asset Management, has mopped up $300 million in what seems to be the first close for its latest agriculture focused fund Proterra Sustainable Agriculture Fund LP, a person familiar with the development told DEALSTREETASIA.

With the first close, the PE firm plans to target investments in the agriculture sector in North American countries, the person added.

The agri-focused fund may not be raising more money any time soon, the source added.

The new vehicle comes at a time when Proterra is also raising capital for its $700-million Food Fund III, that is set to focus on Asia. The previous flagship food funds in the series also had an Asia focus with a small non-Asia allocation. From the previous funds, Proterra has made investments in Brazil and South Africa.

The private equity investor, which was carved out of Cargill unit Black River Asset Management in 2016, is bullish on the food and agriculture ecosystem, an area that has been dominated by traditional strategic investors in the past.

In fact, the firm recently made a first close of $200 million for a North America-focused credit fund for the food and agriculture businesses. This fund is looking to raise $400 million.

Proterra, which manages assets worth over $2.5 billion, is an alternative investor in the natural resource sectors of agriculture, food, and metals and mining. It has offices in Minneapolis, London, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Shanghai and Sydney. Cargill maintains its relationship with Proterra as a committed limited partner to the funds.

For the past few years, Proterra has been seen as an active market participant in Asia’s food and agri space along with the firm’s global mandate. In May 2017, it invested $100 million to acquire a minority stake in Indonesia-based food and agribusiness firm FKS Food & Agri. Later that year, it exited its investment in Singapore-based agribusiness Japfa’s dairy unit AustAsia for $263.1 million.

More recently, Canadian pension fund manager Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) acquired a majority stake in Australia-based diversified farming business BFB Pty Ltd from Proterra, which made the investment in 2008 prior to the spin-off by Black River.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.