Vincent Tchenguiz, the property tycoon with a 28% stake in Hale-based fund manager Braemar, has invested in the firm's new British farmland fund.
Tchenguiz made the investment in Braemar UK Agricultural Land through one of his vehicles, Wheddon, ahead of its proposed autumn flotation.
Braemar is among fund managers predicting a strong rise in UK agricultural land values on the back of rising crop prices and an increase in the use of bio-fuels.
Tchenguiz said: "I love the idea of this company – it sees the convergence of my two major interests – property and the environment. Altruism aside, this is an excellent opportunity as supply constraints and price pressures combine to enhance the potential value of British farmland. You won't see me driving a combine harvester, but we look forward to reaping the rewards."
Marc Duschenes, chief executive of Braemar Group, added: "I am delighted that Vincent has agreed an investment in Braemar Agricultural Land plc. He believes, as we do, that this is a huge growth area in the current climate, and with food and oil prices increasing rapidly, there is every reason to believe that the demand for UK land for both food and bio-fuel crops will continue to remain high for many years to come. Following this investment we will be actively pursuing a flotation of this simple, yet exciting business."
Braemar UK Agricultural Land was launched in January 2008 and by the first close at the end of March, the plc had exceeded its minimum subscription level. Fundraising was re-opened until 18 July due to strong demand. A number of farms have been identified for purchase and 1,000 acres are now under offer. Subscriptions to Braemar UK Agricultural Land plc will be capped at an initial £20m. Minimum investment in the company is £10,000.
Wheddon was advised by Consensus Business Group, also controlled by Tchenguiz.