MetLife Investment Management (MIM), MetLife, Inc.’s institutional asset management business, announced today that it originated $5.0 billion in global agricultural loans in 2018, a 72.4% increase over the prior year, and a record amount for MIM. This strong production propelled MIM’s total agricultural mortgage loan assets under management to $17.9 billion, another record for MIM, further solidifying the firm as the largest non-government sponsored, agricultural mortgage lender in the United States.
“Despite low commodity prices and ongoing trade uncertainty, our agricultural finance group achieved record growth in 2018,” said Robert Merck, senior managing director and global head of real estate and agriculture at MetLife Investment Management. “During the year, we continued to support our domestic producer clients, and we made significant progress in expanding internationally, most notably into Uruguay and Mexico.”
During 2018, MIM also expanded its agricultural lending platform to include a Forest Products platform, focusing on lending to fiber processing facilities and other commercial timberland downstream borrowers. This initiative allows MIM to provide loans across the full spectrum of the forestry supply chain, from production to processing.
Barry Bogseth, managing director and head of MIM’s agricultural finance group, added: “In 2018, we continued to cement our role as a steady source of capital for the agricultural sector. We look forward to further serving our agriculture clients with customized financing solutions that meet their needs, just as we have for over 100 years.”
Highlights of MIM’s agricultural lending transactions for 2018 include:
Every Bear Investment, LLC
- $228 million senior secured fixed-rate financing for 10 years
- Borrower is a subsidiary of iStar, Inc., a REIT focused on investments in commercial real estate
- Secured by seven cold storage warehouses located in seven states, totaling 1.24 million square feet
BTG Pactual Timberland Investments Group
- $125 million revolving line-of-credit facility
- Secured by approximately 165,000 acres of timberland located in eight states
- Collateral is dispersed across all primary timber producing regions in the United States and contains many different commercial hardwood and softwood timber species
FirstFruits HoldCo, LLC
- $85 million variable rate term loan financed for 20 years
- Secured by 12,643 acres of orchards and farmland in Washington state
- Collateral includes orchards and processing facilities in the leading apple growing region in the United States
El Maximo Ranch Holdings, LLC
- $75 million variable rate term loan financed for 15 years
- Secured by 38,458 acres in Florida
- Farming operation on collateral will include row crops and vegetable production, along with cattle ranching
MetLife Investment Management oversees an agricultural portfolio consisting primarily of mortgages for farms, ranches, food production, agribusiness, and timberland. The firm has provided agricultural financing solutions since 1917 and is the largest non-government sponsored, agricultural mortgage lender in the United States. MIM’s agricultural finance group has a lending presence in most major agricultural production areas throughout the United States and South America.