Aqua-Agro Fund, the cleantech venture capital arm of B. Gaon Holdings Ltd. (TASE: GAON), held through Gaon Agro Industries Ltd. (TASE: GAT), is starting to move. Gaon Holdings chairman Benjamin Gaon told “Globes” in January that Aqua-Agro was “legally ready”. Today, Gaon Holdings notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) that the fund has $17 million in commitments and that it expected to reach $25 million in commitments by the end of September. At that point, the fund will begin operating, and additional investments can be made in it up to 18 months from its set-up date.
Under Aqua-Agro’s founding agreement, Gaon Agro will invest $2 million in the fund; Robert Factor, a controlling shareholder in Gaon Agro, has undertaken to invest $6.25-10 million; and Ainsbury Properties Ltd., has pledged to invest $5 million.
Gaon Holdings added that Aqua-Agro “plans to raise up to $100 million.” This is double the amount previously planned for the fund. The new amount means that Aqua-Agro will be the same size as the cleantech fund that Arison Holdings Ltd.) is setting up.
Agro Gaon told “Globes”, “We’re seeing a strong response to the fundraising, and we’re holding intensive talks with many potential investors. As the fund raises more money, its potential will grow.” The company added that the strong demand led it to raise the fundraising target.
Agro-Aqua will have a lifespan of eight years, with two one-year options to extend.
Gaon Agro is responsible for Gaon Holdings’ water infrastructure interests. The company collaborates with manufacturing and infrastructure companies in the sector, including Middle East Tube Ltd. (METCO) (TASE: TUBE), irrigations systems maker Metzerplas Ltd., Plassim Ltd., Hakohav Valves Industries Metal (1987) Ltd., and Sagiv Ltd.
Gaon Holdings owns 46% of Gaon Agro, which is managed by CEO Moti Dabi. Other shareholders are Kastel (Altan) Investment Ltd. Oz Atid International Ltd. and the public.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on July 2, 2007
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