Agribusiness & Food


Ivan Saval

Managing Director, Agribusiness & Food Investment Banking

Ivan Saval is the Managing Director overseeing the capital markets and financial advisory opportunities for the Agribusiness & Food segments. Ivan is a seasoned investment banker, having worked with a wide range of agribusiness and food related enterprises for their capital and advisory needs. He has over 15 years of experience, working for firms such as JP Morgan, UBS, CIBC, BNP Paribas and INTL FCStone

Agribusiness & Food Sector Expertise

Agribusiness & Food are key sectors for National, with a team of banking professionals highly regarded for their deep industry expertise and relationships. Our investment banking activity in this sector comprises both advisory and capital markets, working with a wide range of companies along the value chain, including, but not limited to, the privately run family livestock business, the publicly traded agri-biotech enterprise, the startup ag-tech company, the multi-national grain merchandising platform, and the consumer driven branded food products.

We work with boards of directors and business owners to assist them in exercising their fiduciary responsibilities, providing unbiased guidance and excellence in transaction execution. Our knowledge in the broad array of industries that comprise food and agribusiness provides us a unique capability to position your business to the investor community.

Since launching our Agribusiness & Food sector specific effort in 2016, National has led, or participated in, several capital raise transactions, including unregistered and registered offerings of equity and debt, with placement to both retail and fundamental institutional investors.  Additionally, National has been the exclusive financial adviser for restructuring, business divestitures and buy side assignments.

Completed Transactions


Ben Klieve, CFA

Senior Equity Research Analyst, Agribusiness & Food

Ben Klieve is a Senior Equity Research Analyst covering Agribusiness. His coverage focuses on companies throughout the food chain that add value to the grower and consumer alike, with sub-sectors including agricultural biotech, biologicals, biofuels, consumer goods, distribution and production. Prior to joining National, Mr. Klieve worked as a generalist for Noble Capital Markets, covering the aerospace and defense, agribusiness and business services sectors. Mr. Klieve holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Finance (MSF) from University of Denver. Mr. Klieve is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Agribusiness & Food Sector Coverage

Agribusiness research coverage at National focuses on small and micro cap companies with exposure both to the grower and the consumer. Our grower focused coverage considers investments with exposure to agricultural biotech, biological inputs, bio-fuels and production. Our consumer focused coverage considers investments with exposure to consumer goods, packaging and distribution. We seek to enable investors to generate alpha by identifying overlooked and misunderstood investment opportunities with strategies that we believe can capture sustainable value.

AgroFresh Solutions, Inc. (AGFS: Buy, $5.50 PT)

October 15, 2019–After market close on October 11th, AGFS was awarded $31 million from the parent company of former partner Decco for patent infringement. The announcement came after a week long jury trial to settle the initial lawsuit which was decided in AGFS’ favor in mid-2017. It is not yet known if an appeal process will follow, or what the potential timing of cash receipt is.

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Arcadia Biosciences RKDA: Buy, $20 PT (from $12)

August 15, 2019–We believe the most valuable revenue in
agribusiness is derived from proprietary genetics, and we believe the most valuable crop in
the market is cannabis. RKDA is engaged in breeding efforts to develop proprietary lines of
cannabis, which we believe is a roughly 3 year process before commercialization can begin.
For patient investors, we believe RKDA is in the process of generating significant value via
these efforts, and we expect enhanced visibility of this potential over the next 12 to 24 months.

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AquaBounty Technologies (AQB: Neutral, $5 PT)

September 20, 2019–We continue to believe that AAS represents perhaps the most disruptive proprietary product within the food chain, and is capable of upending the economics of the salmon farming industry. However, our most significant expected catalyst for the stock was our belief that domestic buyers for AAS would emerge in early 2020 with expansion plans to follow. Without visibility of these catalysts, we are downgrading to NEUTRAL.

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Calyxt, Inc. - CLXT: Buy, $28 PT (from $35)

August 8, 2019– We believe the declines of 66% from its YTD
high, and 32% in the past seven trading days alone are not justified and put the stock in deep
value territory. Our lower price target is a reflection of adjustments to our model and assumed
multiple, not a reflection of the value proposition which we believe remains significant.

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Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII: Buy, $2.50 PT)

August 9, 2019– Revenue of $7.0 million grew 22% YoY but missed consensus
estimates of $8.3 million, while gross margins improved and adjusted operating expenses
remained roughly flat sequentially. Overall, the second quarter continued the trend of directional
improvement, but the scale of the improvement was a modest disappointment to us especially
when considering what were favorable comps off of a weak second quarter of 2018.

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S&W Seed Company (SANW: Buy, $6 PT)

September 19, 2019– Revenue of $46.9 million fell below our estimate of $62.0 million. $11 million of the $15 million delta was due to the timing of revenue recognition from the Pioneer divestiture. Much of the balance was due to lower than expected sorghum revenue, some of which was pushed into the first quarter of fiscal 2020. While GAAP revenue recognition from the Pioneer divestiture is delayed more than we anticipated, cash collection is occurring on schedule, including the initial payment of $45 million.

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Limoneira (LMNR: Buy, $30 PT)

September 10 —  Revenue of $51.9 million came in slightly ahead of consensus estimates of $48.9 million, while a net loss of $0.02 per share met consensus. The full year outlook was maintained following an update in the pre-release in late August.

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Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN: Buy, $5 PT)

August 13, 2019– The research license with Bayer (STU: BAY –
NR – €66.48) has been amended to include an expanded scope for the C3004 trait. Under the
original agreement signed in late 2017, BAY considered the C3003 and C3004 traits for evaluation
in soybean, with the genes under consideration targeted to controlling carbon flow. With YTEN’s
additional discoveries in the C3004 trait from 2018 trials in camelina, the research license was
expanded to include a broader scope of genes.

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