Ex-Cargill Buyout Firm Eyes Opportunities From Strong Dollar

  • Proterra will focus on agriculture, food, metals and mining
  • The split follows a year of portfolio reshaping at Cargill

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.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.