Chilean pork production leader, Coexca, has raised $12 million in equity funding from the Danish Agribusiness Fund (DAF). DAF is backed by the Danish government and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), in collaboration with two of Denmark’s largest pension funds, PensionDanmark and PKA.
The investment was arranged by Edinburgh-based agricultural investment firm JB Equity in return for an equity stake in Coexca.
Coexca is planning to use the funding to double its current pork production capacity and establish a new pig farm in the Maule Region of Chile, building the company’s global business from its turnover base which is already worth $85m. It is understood this is the largest capital raising for a pork business in Chile on record.
Optimistic about the increasing global demand for high-quality pork products, Coexca’s chief executive officer Guillermo García González said the agreement with DAF and JB Equity represented an exciting new stage of development for the company which currently exports to more than 33 countries, with a significant portion going to Asian markets. The plan is to further expand its Asia sales.
DAF vice president for Latin America Helle Bjerre described Coexca is a good example of what cooperative and progressive farmers and processors can achieve by working with institutional investors who understand their industry.
Asked to comment on the ‘attraction dynamics’ between Coexca and DAF, JB Equity’s CIO Hamish Webb, drew attention first to Coexca’s modest beginnings, being started in 2002 by seven Chilean pork farmers who bought their first abattoir, out of administration, in 2004.
“Ten years later they were the third largest pork producer in Chile with exports to 33 countries,” he said. “What we saw was outstanding management, alongside cohesive and supportive shareholders, drawn from their own farmers.
“As far DAF is concerned, we view them as one of the most experienced institutional investors in the pork industry around the world.
“DAF has around 18 pork investments in its history and can offer Coexca wide-ranging experience in genetics, production, processing, marketing, handling and any issues which come up about all aspects of pork production. That’s why we felt this was a perfect union and why we committed our time and focus to this project.”
JB Equity focuses exclusively on agribusiness and agri-technology, and last month arranged a £10 million ($12.4 million) Series A investment in animal therapeutics platform Roslin Technologies. JB Equity plays more of a brokerage role in deals in a unique model compared to other investment parties involved in the space, according to Webb.
“We are a little bit different to other agricultural funds and advisers,” he said. “We look for opportunities within our own networks. These are often projects which aren’t actively looking for investment, to begin with. We work with them to create a development plan, usually focused on how they can grow their business. We then put the structure in place to deliver that plan, along with the necessary financial modeling, all of which we then present to groups we think would make excellent partners for the original business.
“We’re not just looking for funds or people who want to invest in agriculture generally, but those who have good experience in the sector, or the country concerned, and can add a bit more value than just the capital involved. In return for doing this, we receive a shareholding in the company on the successful completion of a funding arrangement.
“Our risk is that we fund ourselves throughout this process and only get our return through the eventual shareholding. We were founded in 2014, and while it is an aspiration of ours to reach the point where we have our own fund, we know we need a bit more of a track record and some more experience to reach that objective.”