Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canada’s largest alternative asset manager, has raised $300 million for a new agricultural fund targeting Brazilian farmland, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
The Toronto-based firm is targeting $500 million in total for the fund, with a maximum of $700 million, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Brookfield Brazil Agricultural Fund II will be used mainly to acquire cattle ranches that will be converted into sugarcane or soybean farms, said the person.
Brookfield has a long history in Brazil -- the world’s largest sugar producer. The company was founded in 1899 in Sao Paulo as Brascan Ltd. before changing its name in 2005. The asset manager is also raising a new commercial real-estate fund of about $1 billion focused on Brazil, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.
Since 2006, Brazilian farmers have expanded the soybean planted area by 11 million hectares (27 million acres), mostly driven by demand from China. Most of the advance was over areas previously used for extensive, low-productive cattle breeding. While demanding massive investments in fertilization, the conversion of pastures into farmland tends to increase the value of land as soy and sugar cultivation is more profitable.
A Brookfield spokesman declined to comment.