Slater aims to raise $15m for agriculture company

Jim Slater

Dow Jones Newswires | 26 May 2009

Mike Foster

Jim Slater's Brazilian agricultural company Agrifirma plans to raise $15m (€10.7m) from the high-net worth community and aims to list its shares within a year.

According to a spokesman, Agrifirma has started talking to potential advisers. He said: "We cannot predict the movement of markets any more than anyone else, but the recovery in global equity markets and commodity prices gives us confidence we should be able to proceed with an IPO in six to 12 months."

In the 1970s, Slater ran investment bank Slater Walker, which was caught out by the UK secondary banking crisis. He has since become a celebrated stock-picker and backer to mining stock Galahad Gold, which returned 66% a year to investors in the four years to September 2007.

Slater reckons shortages of soft commodities and the likelihood of rising inflation make farmland an excellent investment, not least in Brazil where Agrifirma is located.

He is a co-founder of the company, run by Julio Bestani, who used to work for a company backed by hedge fund manager George Soros. Agrifirma wants to use the money being raised by the placing to improve the 42,000 hectares of land it owns, and to fund an option to buy a further 27,000 hectares over the next four years.

Following a collapse in soft commodities prices last year, shares in agricultural companies have fallen 45%. But there is no shortage of promoters that believe resurgence is on the cards.

Last week, Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie announced plans to raise money for a fund that will invest in companies serving the agricultural community.
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Source: Dow Jones

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