We designed a $60 million investment project based on FSC certified high quality cocoa production. The project was promoted by local relevant people, interested to revitalize some poor areas, and in our expertise for bringing up new methodologies to produce cocoa under new plantation parameters.
Nowadays project is being negotiated to be funding by some local investors. Expected IRR is 20,02%. Return is $314 millions. Project life, 20 years.
I managed the first agroforestry investment company to going public in the Barcelona Stock market. I was leading the company from 2005 to 2010, succeeding as a listed company in June 2009.
We took care by ourselves about all the matters, documentation & financials, and we dealt the issues in front the surveillance authorities. It took 5 months of intensive job, but it was worth it. Starting price was 1,25€, and in the first session stock rise to 1,40€
All my team was involved in a Luxembourg Fund project, aimed to transform thousands of redundant Hevea trees (rubber trees) into biomass, and transform plantations to an intensive bamboo production. It meant 5 millions tons to be transformed into pellets and briquettes, from 6 different sites, which meant 5000 hectares in West DR. Congo. We designed a five years forestry job, for 8 years Fund life. Expected IRR 20% per year.
It was necessary we prepare a brochure to help in the fundraising process. We did an interesting appraisal regarding workforce, infrastructures, and social impact in a Country which hold the world’s penultimate position about human development.
Fund intention was to divide project into two different funds, one for rubber biomass, and the another one for bamboo plantations.
Some trees were timber so we see this possibility in our projections.
I have to say it was a very hard assignment, especially because the challenges that come up in a broken country immersed in a civil war for long time, however, we found some time to play Karate with kids.
From the beginning, I was always convinced that to have the best plants was a must if we want to build the best plantations. I always try to produce our own plant, and in this sense I have pushed to set up own in vitro laboratories, and nurseries …
Own in vitro lab in Spain
Base in vitro germ material
…. and I have looked for scientific research partners worldwide. Here below it is me negotiating co-research partnership in Uruguay.
Always involved in assessments regarding forestry investments. I worked the appraisal of a 80.000 hectares FSC certified forestry group in Northwest Argentina, and Southern Bolivia, in order to be acquired by a Spanish forestry investment group. It included a full due diligence of a multinational forestry company, who had its base in Delaware, US, with some interesting pending legal issues there. I dealt all negotiations with owner, and set all matters of the purchase agreement.
Company had its own sawmills and dryers handled by Bolivian and Argentinean employees, which meant an important issue to ensure change capacity to face the new management approaches. However, in addition to clearing legal issues, the most important challenge was to check project feasibility, considering long distances to loading ports from operational sites, and deficient infrastructures along the country.
I boosted some of the most interesting projects ever made in Patagonia, from river valley areas to arid soils. I led from forestry projects to organic nuts production, leading scientific research to introduce & produce tropical biofuels, and biomass under Patagonian conditions.
Certified organic nuts production in Patagonia
Organic nuts production
Testing with Jatropha clones, and building natural defenses to protect crops from wind.
Introducing vineyard, cherry trees, olive trees, and other interesting crops in Patagonia desert.
And building waterways (20km) to ensure crops in sometimes very hard circumstances…
Setting up the world biggest clone bank for a single hardwood species. 12 hectares in Spain, with imported selected material. It was 1997 and it helped around to improve significantly handling of the high value wood plantations, involving scientific research institutes, Ministry of Science of Spain, and stakeholders. This clone bank was the first worldwide to introduce dendrometric monitoring process in real time in a tree plantation.
Research allowed us to describe water stress of plants in real time, as you can see below, combining results with soil moisture content, and weather data, to manage irrigation system.
Since 1995 working on Agro & Forestry projects. Here below it’s me (left side) at Purdue University (Indiana. USA), looking for selected hardwood trees for high value plantations. It was mid nineties, and I was 24 years old.