$42 million for Foragen Technologies limited partnership
SGF Soquia inc. invests $14 million
Saint-Hyacinthe, October 16, 2000 – Earlier today, a $42 million Pan‑Canadian investment fund devoted to the creation and start‑up of advanced agricultural technologies ventures in the Agri‑food and Agri‑biotechnology sector was announced. Foragen Technologies Limited Partnership was launched by Royal Bank Ventures inc., SGF Soquia Inc., and the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation and the Crown Investments Corporation.
John T. Nilson, Minister of Crown Corporations for the Saskatchewan Governement, Jim Rager, vice‑chairman of Royal Bank Financial Group and Claude Blanchet, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SGF, announced an investment of $42 million for the creation of Foragen. The announcement came at the Bio Agro Contact 2000 conference, in the presence of Bernard Landry, Québec’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for the Economy and Finance.
Foragen’s mandate is to promote venture creation by offering seed capital, technology management advice and networking opportunities that will allow entrepreneurs to concentrate on developing their technologies. Foragen is owned equally by Royal Bank Ventures Inc. (RB Ventures), the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO) and the Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan (CIC), and SGF Soquia Inc. Each partner has committed to invest up to $14 million. Foragen has offices in Québec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
“Information and technology businesses are an important component of our future development capital,” said Mr. Landry. “SGF Soquia’s involvement in Foragen will allow Québec to increase its competitiveness and have access to a pool of business opportunities in the food biotechnology field.” Mr. Landry also praised the partnership with Ontario and Saskatchewan. These provinces are amongst the most important leading-edge technology growth centres in Canada’s biofood sector.
“Saskatchewan is one of the leading players in the agriculture biotechnology sector in Canada with more than one-third of all biotech companies located in Saskatoon,” said Crown Corporations Minister John Nilson. “Our investment in Foragen will help us to strengthen this position even further.”
“As the founding creator a year and a half ago, we are very pleased to have two partners so committed to Agri‑Science joining Royal Bank in launching Foragen Technologies today. Our combined commitment will help keep Canadian Agri-Sciences innovations and intellectual property in Canada”, said Jim Rager. “Foragen will seek out research in Canadian lab benches and build sustainable, global Agri‑Science companies. As far as we know, Foragen is the first of its kind in North America, and possibly the world.”
Noting that the annual market growth rate for advanced technology derivatives in the biofood sector (biopesticides, animal health, functional foods and genomic development) varies between 10% and 24%, Mr. Blanchet said, “By investing in Foragen, SGF Soquia has obtained a powerful analysis and intervention tool capable of meeting the pre‑marketing needs of leading-edge technology companies in the biofood sector. Our decision to invest in Foragen was based on the fact that it will enrich SGF Soquia’s business opportunity pipeline and extend the potential market for its applications.”
The Royal Bank Ventures Inc. is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RY) a diversified global financial services group and a leading provider of personal and commercial banking, investment and trust services, insurance, corporate and investment banking, on‑line banking and transaction‑based services including custody. The group’s main business units include Royal Bank, RBC Dominion Securities, Royal Investment Services, RBC Insurance and Global Integrated Solutions. The group has 49,000 employees who serve 10 million personal, business and public sector customers in 30 countries. For more information, visit Royal Bank’s Web site at www.royalbank.com.
The Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO) is an economic development agency whose mandate is to facilitate Saskatchewan’s economic growth by investing in businesses that will support and enhance industrial development. It seeks out business opportunities in the agriculture, forest products, tourism and culture, mines and minerals, energy and advanced technology sectors.
The Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan (CIC) is a financial holding of the Saskatchewan government. Its mission is to establish economic development strategies for State-owned corporations, manage their portfolios and contribute to Saskatchewan’s economic and industrial growth.
SGF Soquia Inc. is a subsidiary of the Société générale de financement du Québec, known by its acronym SGF. The SGF’s mission is to carry out economic development projects, in cooperation with partners and based on normal conditions of profitability. Since it was restructured in 1998, it has generated investments of some $2 billion, creating more than 9,000 direct and indirect operational phase jobs in addition to many thousands of construction phase jobs. On December 31, 1999, the SGF’s consolidated assets amounted to nearly $2 billion. The SGF has 40 international partners with activities in Québec.
Mr Jean-Yves Duthel
and Public Relations
SGF Ms Judy Dobbs
Royal Bank Ventures inc.
Mr Hubert Bolduc
Cabinet of Minister Landry
Mr Ted Boyle
Director of Communications