UPDATE 2-Canada's CPPIB to buy farmland portfolio in Saskatchewan

Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:56pm EST
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By Euan Rocha and Rod Nickel

TORONTO/WINNIPEG Dec 12 (Reuters) - The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said on Thursday it had agreed to acquire the assets of Assiniboia Farmland, a fund that owns and manages a large portfolio of farmland in Saskatchewan, for about C$128 million.

CPPIB, one of Canada's top pension fund managers with more than C$192.8 billion ($181 billion) in assets under management, said Assiniboia's diversified portfolio consists of 115,000 acres of farmland that produce crops like wheat, barley and canola.

The existing management team of the fund, which was created in 2005, will continue to manage the land portfolio, said CPPIB.

Sovereign wealth funds and large pension funds like Canada's CPPIB, seeking long-life revenue generating assets, are making a number of big bets in physical assets like farmland and forests, along with investments in ports, hydro-electric power projects and other such assets.

Last year, CPPIB launched its agriculture investment program which is initially focusing on farmland opportunities in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

This is CPPIB's second investment in farmland, since setting up its agriculture investment program. Last year, CPPIB made its first foray in the sector, buying a large parcel of land that is spread across different parts of the United States.   Continued...