Front Street Preps Agriculture Hedge Fund

Feb 21 2008 | 1:00am ET

Toronto-based Front Street Capital is betting the farm, or at least banking on it.

The $3 billion firm, which manages $1.2 billion in long/short strategies, is currently prepping a long/short agriculture hedge fund for launch next month.

Befitting its name, the Front Street Global Agri Fund will invest in agriculturally-oriented equities, including equipment, storage, fertilizers, technology, waste management, food processing and water treatment companies in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, as well as in emerging markets such as Brazil.

The fund is Front Street’s second foray into the agriculture market: It listed through Ceres Global Ag Corp, which makes public and private investments in agricultural concerns, on the Toronto Stock Exchange in November.

The principals of Front Street, who seeded Ceres Global with $20 million, will also seed the Agri Fund with “several” million dollars, according to Tim Cunningham, president of third-party marketing firm Touchstone Group, which is marketing the fund.

“Right now, they’re seeing a run-up in commodities pricing that are pushing all sorts of ag sectors from water and water treatment to equipment, storage, transportation, and all of the underlying infrastructure investments that’s being made to respond to the price moves,” said Cunningham. “It’s really driven by the Chinese and Indian increasing consumption of protein and moving from less expensive forms of protein to fish, poultry, pork and beef.”

The Agri Fund charges a 2% management fee and a 20% incentive fee but the minimum investment requirement has not yet been hammered out.

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