Cargill subsidiary Black River spins off private equity firm

Reuters | 25 Jan 2016

Cargill subsidiary Black River spins off private equity firm

CHICAGO | By Karl Plume

Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] subsidiary Black River Asset Management LLC announced on Monday the spinoff of a private equity firm focused on food, agriculture, mining and metals investments primarily in developing countries.

With more than $2.1 billion in assets under management, Minnesota-based Proterra Investment Partners is one of three independent companies emerging from Black River after Cargill announced its subsidiary's breakup in September.

Cargill is in a restructuring aimed at transforming the 150-year-old company into one more responsive to commodities market swings. Losses stemming from the liquidation of hedge funds managed by Black River dragged down Cargill profit in the company's most recent quarter.

Employee-owned Proterra said it would retain all of its fund commitments and limited partners, including Cargill.

Proterra has $782 million in investments in three food-focused funds, $1.2 billion in three agriculture-related funds and $165 million in a metals and mining fund, the company said.

The firm has investments in regions of Asia, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa and in South America, said Ned Dau, Proterra's chief marketing officer and head of investor relations.

"We think all of those areas provide opportunities," he said in an interview on Monday. Dau added that Proterra's investments included farmland development and management, shipping infrastructure and companies focused on production and processing of foods like meat and dairy.

Dau declined to elaborate on the fund's investment strategy.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Proterra has offices in London, Shanghai, Sydney, Singapore and New Delhi. The company employs 49 staff in those cities as well as Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

(Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Peter Cooney)


Bloomberg | 26 Jan 2015

Ex-Cargill buyout firm eyes opportunities from strong dollar

Shruti Singh

Proterra Investment Partners, a private-equity firm spun off from agricultural commodities producer and trader Cargill Inc., sees opportunities in natural resources as the dollar strengthens.

Proterra was previously part of Cargill’s Black River Asset Management investment unit. It manages more than $2.1 billion of committed capital, and Minneapolis-based Cargill will continue to be an investor, Proterra said Monday in a statement. The firm has three strategies: agriculture, food, and metals and mining.

Proterra may seek to expand in agricultural production, meat processing, aquaculture, industrial minerals and base metals in emerging markets from Latin America to the Sub-Saharan Africa to Australia, Ned Dau, head of investor relations, said in a telephone interview Monday. The strategies may range from farming land with a local partner to increasing efficiency in mines, Dau said.

“As a dollar-based investor, there are opportunities,” Dau said. “That’s in our favor.”

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks a basket of 10 global currencies against the U.S. currency, has gained 8 percent in the last 12 months. That may offer opportunities to “pick up lower-cost producers with strong management,” Dau said.

Proterra has $782 million in three agriculture funds, $1.2 billion in three food funds primarily focused on meat and protein plus $165 million in a metals and mining fund, the company said in the statement.

Portfolio ‘Reshaping’

Last September, Cargill announced the breakup and spin off of investment arm Black River Asset Management after 12 years. The spinoff of Proterra follows a year of portfolio “reshaping’’ at the 150-year-old Cargill.

In the past few months, the company completed the sale of its U.S. pork business to Brazil’s JBS SA and agreed to sell its crop insurance unit. It also bought a salmon-feed producer and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s chocolate business. Last week, it announced plans to close its London shipping office and consolidate some of its operations in Geneva as the freight market slumps to the lowest in three decades.
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Source: Reuters

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