Agriculture as an asset class has caught the attention of the investment community recently due to the sector’s strong macro fundamentals. The latest farmland index report from Knight Frank indicates that the average value of UK farmland has increased 187% over the past decade. In addition to traditional farmland strategies, this month has seen a flurry of investment activity at different points along the agricultural value chain, showing the diverse interest of investors. This momentum is expected to continue, and will be examined in detail at the fifth annual Global AgInvesting Europe conference at The Landmark in London, 1-3 December 2014.
Global AgInvesting (GAI) has been tracking November’s relevant deals in dairy and precision farming technology. “The increased consumption of animal proteins by the growing middle class in emerging markets has piqued investor interest in the dairy industry,” said Philippe de Laperouse, event chair/managing director at HighQuest Group, the event host. As an example, he noted Theo Muller’s purchase of Dairy Crest’s dairy business for £80m this week, solidifying control of 30% of the UK fresh milk market, as well as the rival bids for control of Egypt’s Arab Dairy Products from Saudi Arabia’s Arrow Food Distribution and Pioneers Holdings in Bahrain.
Big data has commanded the attention of agriculture investors since Monsanto’s purchase of Climate Corp last year for nearly US$1bn. This week, Intel Capital invested US$10mn in Precision Hawk, a company that produces unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect farm data. Days later, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers announced an investment in Farmers Edge, which utilises satellite imagery and in-field telematics to increase yield and decrease environmental impact. “We expect to see continued growth in the number of deals in this area,” said de Laperouse. “We will be exploring these opportunities and many more along the value chain at the conference next month, including permanent crops, aquaculture, and infrastructure and logistics.”
GAI Europe 2014 features more than 70 international thought leaders who will provide attendees with a broad picture of the agriculture investing landscape and a clear idea of where the real money is moving in the space.
Global AgInvesting, the world’s most well attended agriculture investment conference series, hosts five international events annually, curates a critical news aggregation service, and publishes the agricultural investment community’s leading publication, the Global AgInvesting Quarterly.