July 08, 2008

Financializing Food: Schroders Closes One Fund, Launches New as Speculative Money Continues to Flood into Commodity Funds

Gobal fund manager Schroders is launching an Agricultural Land Fund, only months after closing its USD 6 billion Alternative Solutions Agriculture Fund due to excessive investor demand.

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June 26, 2008

IUF at ILO Highlights Role of Financial Speculation in Food Price Crisis

As part of this year's International Labour Conference, which included the first discussion in 20 years on rural employment issues, the ILO on June 11 convened a “High-Level Panel on the Food Crisis, Production, Investment and Decent Work”. Speaking on the panel, IUF general secretary highlighted the impact of recent investment flows into commodity markets in helping fuel the hyperinflation in the price of basic food staples which has provoked global hunger riots. "While international agencies have suddenly discovered underinvestment, investment in commodity indexes has climbed from US$13-billion in 2003 to $260-billion in March 2008 - and according to some analysts may soon hit a trillion US dollars. Yet the FAO briefing paper for the Rome summit devoted a dismissive two paragraphs to the phenomenon in its 'assessment of recent developments', and nothing in its concluding 'policy options'. Private equity and hedge funds - investors focused on short-term, high-yield gains - have been expanding beyond futures markets and are now pouring billions into acquiring farmland, inputs and infrastructure. The real world has been left behind - and with it production, investment and decent work. The real issue is what kind of investment, what kind of production, and who benefits."

For the full IUF presentation (also available French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish) click here.

March 11, 2008

Permira's Arysta Buyout Takes PE into Agrochemicals

Following earlier advances into agricultural commodity/supply chains and food testing documented on this site, private equity is now staking a claim in the agrochemicals sector.

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January 14, 2008

PE Firms Step into Brewery Wars

The UK-based brewers Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) have turned to private equity firms Blackstone and TPG in their efforts to wring the maximum out of their 50% stake in Baltic Beverages Holdings (BBH).

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December 18, 2007

Private Equity's Growing Reach in Food Testing

As food safety issues involving pathogens widen in scope and frequency, food safety testing services are increasingly coming under private equity ownership.

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November 05, 2007

Buyouts Booming in India's Food Processing Sector

Buyout funds have poured a record Euro106.4 million (ca. USD 152 million) to date this year into snapping up food processing companies in India. This sum compares with total food sector buyouts of Euro 4.2 million for all of 2006, comprised of two big deals. This year there have been 11 substantial food company buyouts.

The enormous influx of buyout money into Indian food production has raised serious regulatory, development and food security concerns in the country.

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October 10, 2007

Massive Recall of Contaminated Beef Forces Immediate Closure of PE-Owned US Meat Company

Topps, the largest US maker of frozen meat patties, was forced into immediate closure following a massive government-ordered recall of hamburger meat tainted with the potentially fatal E. coli bacteria.

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September 28, 2007

Private Equity Advances in Agriculture

Private equity funds continue their incursions into agricultural commodity and supply chains.

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