AgriNurture accepts Vnesto’s offer

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AGRINURTURE, Inc. (ANI) is welcoming the possibility of taking up to $100 million (approximately P5.09 billion) from a global investment bank to finance its expansion projects.

In a stock exchange disclosure yesterday, the listed firm said its board of directors has accepted a letter of intent from Los Angeles-based Vnesto Capital to invest up to $100 million in the company.

“Under the (letter of intent), ANI was eligible to avail of up to $100 million of long term financing. The financing shall be a long term loan with interest pegged at T-bill (Treasury bill rates) plus 3%,” it said.

With the letter accepted by the board, ANI may now start the formal application process for the investment.

Information on Vnesto Capital’s website shows it has investments in the energy, health care, infrastructure, and waste and water treatment industries across the globe. It said it is focused on public works and the integration of construction equipment in public institutions in emerging markets.

ANI’s board of directors also approved investing in Binangonan Rural Bank, Inc. (BRB) as part of building an “agricultural ecosystem.” It said ANI’s subscription to shares in BRB will allow it to sync its e-wallet with BRB’s ATM cards, therefore giving farmers easier access to their bank accounts through a full digital banking platform. This is scheduled to launch within the first half of the year.

“BRB has licensed Financial Technology Platforms that can improve the access of Filipino farmers, especially those in the remote areas, to the Agri Agra Micro Financing,” it said.

ANI did not specify the number of BRB shares it is subscribing to and the value of the transaction, but it said in a statement its parent Earthright Holdings, Inc. recently bought “a significant stake in BRB via subscription agreement.”

In the same disclosure, ANI said its board approved doing a stock split and reclassification of its shares to increase trading opportunities and convert unissued common shares into voting preferred shares.

The company will be conducting a stock split at the ratio of 1:10 shares by reducing the par value of its shares to 10 centavos each from P1 each. It said this will “increase the number of shares of the company that will give more trading opportunities to the shareholders and investors.”

It will also reclassify its 40 million unissued common shares priced at P1 each to 400 million voting preferred shares priced at 10 centavos each. This is equivalent to an aggregate par value of P40 million.

ANI’s board likewise approved tapping Abacus Capital and Investment Corp. as underwriter and financial advisor in doing a stock rights offering and issuance and listing of warrants.

The board also allowed ANI to participate in the Rice and Corn Project of the Department of Agriculture by submitting unsolicited proposals to the department and the National Food Authority (NFA). By partnering with the government, ANI hopes to introduce a rice and corn blend as an alternative staple food.

“ANI is an exporter of agriculture products and hopes to ride on the steadily growing demands from neighboring countries with aging and declining farmers,” it said.

The company currently participates in the NFA’s rice importation program for the private sector. Its business is mainly in the exportation, local distribution and retailing/franchising of goods.

Shares in ANI at the stock exchange slipped one centavo or 0.13% to P7.74 each on Monday. — Denise A. Valdez