Activity report AIF 2023

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AIF invested a total of 8.4 million euro in 2023 in promising companies developing new and sustainable solutions for the benefit of agriculture and horticulture in Belgium and abroad.

AIF invested a total of 8.4 million euro in 2023, all within its existing portfolio companies. No significant exits were realised. The net result for the financial year of -1.4 million euro is a consequence of the internal cost structure and a (temporary) revaluation of a listed investment, but does not reflect the favourable developments within the investment portfolio. Only on exits, which are not actively pursued by AIF as a long-term investor, can capital gains be realised for accounting purposes.

Thanks to additional capital contributions through 2023 for a total amount of 15 million euro from the 100% shareholder M.R.B.B. and taking into account the accumulated reserves and the result of the financial year, AIF has an equity of 61.1 million euro at the end of 2023. Of this, 49.1 million euro is effectively invested in 9 portfolio companies. In addition, AIF has 12.7 million euro of open (conditional) commitments for additional investments within the existing portfolio.

Difficult year for agri-tech

2023 was undeniably a difficult year for agri-tech. Higher inflation and interest rates marked the end of the era of free money. This resulted in more risk aversion, with capital moving away to other asset classes. Impact investors do still provide a significant input of new capital, but we see a rather selective allocation with a clear preference for companies with a relatively faster route-to-market and an ‘easier’ ESG story (e.g. biostimulants, plant-based proteins, etc.). In contrast, companies with a long route-to-market, usually due to lengthy regulatory processes (e.g. totally new biocontrol products), as well as projects with a ‘more difficult’ ESG story (e.g. animal health solutions with positive impact on livestock), have significantly more difficulties in raising the necessary capital. In contrast, AIF invests throughout these cycles and across all areas that can make a positive contribution to agriculture and horticulture.

Extra investments

Specifically, AIF made additional investments in several of its existing holdings in 2023. 5 million euro was invested in Biotalys, which is developing new biological protection agents for plants based on llama antibodies (a technology that is already very successfully applied within human medicine). Moreover, with Animab, AIF has another participation that uses the same underlying technology for applications against gastrointestinal infections in production animals. In addition, AIF invested an additional 2.3 million euro in Aphea.Bio, which develops new biostimulants and biocontrol agents for crops based on microbial organisms. With an additional investment of 527 thousand euro, AIF supported Protealis’ further improvement of protein crops, a key objective to support the protein transition (from animal- to plant-based proteins). Meanwhile, AIF also continues to attach importance to a more sustainable meat production, which was underlined by an additional investment of 323 thousand euro in Virovet, which develops new antivirals and vaccines for production animals. With a view to further stimulating innovative solutions for agriculture, AIF also invests in Biotope Ventures, a start-up studio initiative of VIB, for which an additional 250 thousand euro was contributed.

Undiminished commitment in 2024

In 2024, AIF has kept up its vigorous investment activities. Additional investments totaling 3 million euro have already been made in Protealis, Virovet, Biotope Ventures and Animab. Through participation in (international) events and frequent other contacts within relevant networks, AIF continues to actively seek new opportunities in Belgium and surrounding countries.

As an evergreen investment fund, AIF continues to invest for the long term, thanks to the support of shareholder M.R.B.B., with the undiminished ambition of a stronger and more sustainable agriculture and horticulture, paying special attention to positive impact, not only for the environment, but also for the farmer.

AIF Annual accounts 2023