Aqua Capital clinches Fertiláqua sale in Brazil

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Aqua Capital, Latin America’s largest agribusiness and food-focused private equity firm, said on Monday it has sold Fertiláqua, one of Brazil’s leading plant nutrition firms, according to a statement sent to Reuters.

Buyer ICL ICL.TA, an Israel-based specialty minerals and specialty chemicals company, paid about $120 million plus a potential performance-based earnout of 10%, the statement said.

The deal will drive expansion of ICL’s plant nutrition business in Brazil, one of the world’s fastest growing agriculture markets and a leading producer of commodities like soybeans, sugar and coffee. Aqua Capital had owned Fertiláqua since 2013.

“Negotiating amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought on additional challenges,” said Sebastian Popik, Aqua Capital’s managing partner, in an interview after the deal closed. “There was currency volatility and everything was done remotely as nobody from the Israeli team came here.”

Aqua has $650 million under management and owns controlling stakes in 13 companies in the agribusiness space, including farm input producers, farm input distributors and consumer food firms that make dairy products and sell wine. Combined, the businesses owned by Aqua have revenues of $1.2 billion and employ over 6,000 people.

Popik told Reuters a deal to sell Fertiláqua, which distributes farm input products using resellers nationwide, was reached with ICL after about six months of talks.

This year, Aqua is still poised to announce the acquisition of a new farm input distribution business, Popik said. He declined to disclose details of the imminent deal as they have not been publicly announced.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Steve Orlofsky