The €167 billion Dutch pension fund PGGM has committed between €50 million and €100 million to Black River Food Fund 2, which is managed by the private equity subsidiary of US agribusiness giant Cargill.
Fund 2 is targeting $700 million and had raised over $600 million by June, according to an SEC filing. PGGM is an existing investor in Black River’s first food fund – Black River Capital Partners Food Fund – which closed on $455 million in 2011. Most of the LPs in the first fund re-upped into Fund 2, Maurice Wilbrink, a spokesperson for PGGM told PEI's sister title Agri Investor.
The Dutch pension fund was the biggest investor in Fund 1 and its cornerstone; PGGM also committed between €50 million and €100 million into Fund 1, according to Wilbrink. “We believe Black River has a differentiated strategy, setup and network within the food sector, given their relationship with Cargill, and a very strong team dedicated to this strategy,” Wilbrink said.
“We believe the manager has distinct opportunities that other more general PE firms may not find or may not be able to execute on.” Black River also has very strong environment, social and governance principles on which PGGM rates the firm very highly, according to Wilbrink. “They have the highest standards on ESG policy, practice and reporting, which matches the team’s culture. We are very happy with the performance of
Fund 1 which was made fully in accordance with the pre-defined strategy,” he added. PGGM is also happy with the performance of Black River Food Fund 1 and while he wouldn’t give precise performance figures, Wilbrink described the fund as one of PGGM’s “strongest investments of that vintage” which has “proven the manager’s investment strategy”. Fund 2, which is targeting $700 million, received its first commitment in May, according to an SEC filing.
By the middle of June it had raised nearly $500 million from investors in the US and more than $100 million from overseas investors, according to the filing. Black River had not responded to requests for more information or comment when Agri Investor went to press.