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)

July 1, 2019– We are reiterating our BUY rating and 12-month price target of $5.50 per share. As a clear market leader in its sector with a high margin service and stable revenue base, we believe the degree of the decline in share price over the past year is not justified. While financial and operational risks exist, we believe the company is far better positioned than current multiples suggest.

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Arcadia Biosciences (RKDA: Buy, $12 PT)

June 14, 2019–  Our prior valuation of $15.00 per share assumed the share base would increase from 4.8 million to 7.2 million through the next few years and assumed future capital raises would occur after catalysts that moved the stock upwards. Between the shares issued and warrants exercisable, an additional 3.0 million shares have been added to the base for valuation purposes. At $5.04 per share for the direct offering and $5.00 exercise price for the warrants, this offering was substantially more dilutive than we had initially considered.

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AquaBounty Technologies (AQB: Buy, $5 PT)

June 10, 2019–  We are reiterating our BUY rating and 12-month price target of $5.00 per share. Our price target represents a 10.0x EV/EBITDA multiple based on our model in 2025, discounted 15% annually to a present value. Our 2025 model assumes 5,000 tons of harvest from current facilities only. We also base our price target on a share base of 23.7 million, representing an additional 2.5 million shares from the current share base given our belief that expansion plans may in part be funded via an equity offering. We believe there is potential for this model to be conservative should additional domestic facilities be developed, or international approval efforts prove to be effective in coming years.

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

June 27, 2019– The Investor Day highlighted what believe to be a unique value proposition within the agribusiness industry. We believe Calyxt represents a leader in the field of agricultural biotechnology, and one that is uniquely positioned to capture value via advancements in gene editing technology. We view its lead offering Calyno as being a premier product within a wide addressable market, and believe this product alone can take Calyxt to EBITDA breakeven by 2022 and $1 billion in revenue by 2025. See Exhibit 1 below for our long term Calyno estimates.

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

May 10, 2019– From top to bottom, MBII delivered in the first quarter. Revenue of $8.7 million beat our estimate of $7.1 million, and consensus estimates of $6.3 million. Even more impressive was a 900 basis point improvement in gross margins, which beat our estimate by almost 700 basis points.

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

May 24, 2019– While the Pioneer business was the foundation of SANW’s revenue base, we believe with company will be in a much better position with the assets it will be able to acquire with the proceeds than it would have been with the Pioneer agreement continuing. As noted above, we expected a meaningful decline in Pioneer revenues from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020. However, even if revenues would have remained in the $35 to $40 million range, we believe this would have been a positive development. The agreement was set to expire in 2024, and while we had assumed its continuation, this was far from certain. Therefore, we believe this was an appropriate transaction for SANW from both a strategic and financial perspective.

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Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN: Buy, $5 PT)

May 10, 2019– A net loss of $0.22 per share relative to consensus estimates of $0.23 per share, as well as a cash burn of $2.3 million, both fell in line with expectations. For the balance of 2019, we expect quarterly cash burn to remain in the $2.0 to $2.5 million range.

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