AIMCo and New Forests acquire Lawson Grains from Macquarie Asset Management
Edmonton, Alberta (September 7, 2021) – Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), on behalf of certain of its clients, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lawson Grains alongside partner New Forests, from the agricultural investment management business of Macquarie Asset Management. The agreement follows the successful conclusion of a public tender process.
Lawson Grains is one of Australia’s leading corporate grain growers, comprising a 90,500 arable hectare agricultural land estate across New South Wales and Western Australia. It is one of Australia’s largest grains and oilseeds businesses, producing over 200,000 tonnes per year of wheat, barley, canola and pulses. Under the transaction there will be no significant changes to the Lawson Grains management team in its Albury headquarters, or to current on-farm management, teams or living arrangements.
AIMCo has been investing in Australia alongside New Forests for more than a decade, primarily through Forestry Investment Trust, one of the largest hardwood forestry estates in Australia. Approximately 9,000 hectares of Forestry Investment Trust land in Western Australia has been converted to row crops since 2013. The Lawson Grains investment is a significant core-agriculture asset that adds crop, market, and climate diversity to the existing AIMCo Renewable Resources portfolio.
Ben Hawkins, Senior Vice President, Head of Infrastructure and Renewable Resources at AIMCo said, “AIMCo has a long history of making sustainable investments into Australia, on behalf of its clients. The opportunity to acquire Lawson Grains, a fully integrated grains business built on quality assets, people and systems presents an attractive opportunity for AIMCo’s Renewable Resource portfolio to add a significant core asset. We look forward to continuing the growth of the business through our longstanding partnership with New Forests, as good stewards of these high-quality agricultural assets.”
Mark Rogers, Senior Managing Director (Australia, New Zealand, US) at New Forests said, “Lawson Grains is a high quality and diversified agricultural business with an experienced management team. We look forward to working with the management team to continue to build the business and add value. New Forests will bring its sustainability approach to Lawson Grains, managing for sustainable agricultural production and natural climate solutions including soil carbon and native revegetation and focusing on community engagement. This investment is a natural extension to New Forests’ landscape management approach, ensuring integrated production across Australia’s varied landscape, and backed by our valued client AIMCo.”
Macquarie Asset Management Head of Agriculture, Liz O’Leary said, “We are delighted to have reached an agreement for the sale of Lawson Grains, which we are proud to have built on behalf of our investors over the past 10 years.
“This transaction demonstrates the natural evolution of agriculture as an increasingly mature and attractive alternative investment class. It provides a vote of confidence for investors regarding the opportunity to invest in agriculture businesses and ultimately realise the investments in the same way they are used to doing in other asset classes. Realising this successful investment will enable our business to look ahead to the next opportunity we can build for our investors.”
The completion of this acquisition is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval. All commercial terms are confidential.
About Alberta Investment Management Corporation
AIMCo is one of Canada’s largest and most diversified institutional investment managers with more than $120 billion of assets under management. AIMCo invests globally on behalf of 32 pension, endowment and government funds in the Province of Alberta. AIMCo’s Timberland investment mandate started in 2005 and was expanded to include Agriculture in 2016, forming Renewable Resources.
About New Forests
New Forests is a global investment manager offering high-impact strategies in sustainable forestry and related sectors, with AUD 6 billion (USD 4.5 billion) in assets under management across 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres) of investments. New Forests’ investment portfolio consists of sustainable forest plantations, areas of natural forest conservation, carbon projects, rural land and row-cropping, and timber processing. New Forests’ vision is to see the forest sector as a key sector in the transition to a sustainable future. To achieve this vision, New Forests’ investment strategies support the role of forests as nature-based climate solutions, provide sustainable timber for the growing circular bioeconomy, and contribute to the sustainable development of regional economies and rural communities. New Forests is a Certified B Corp and operates in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the United States. To learn more, please visit: www.newforests.com.au.
About Macquarie Asset Management
Macquarie Asset Management provides specialist investment solutions to clients across a range of capabilities including infrastructure and renewables, real estate, agriculture, transportation finance, private credit, equities, fixed income, and multi-asset solutions. As at 31 March 2021, Macquarie Asset Management had over $A562 billion of assets under management, with more than 1,900 staff operating across 20 markets in Australia, the Americas, Europe and Asia. Macquarie Asset Management has been managing assets for institutional and retail investors since 1980 in Australia and in the United States, retail investors recognise Delaware Funds® by Macquarie family of funds as one of the longest standing mutual fund families, with more than 80 years in existence. For more information, please visit macquarie.com.