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.

AquaBounty Technologies (AQB: Buy, $6.50 PT)

March 11, 2019– On Friday March 8th, the FDA announced the lifting of a ban on AQB’s import of AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS) eggs from its hatchery in Prince Edward Island to its grow out facility in Indiana. The ban was put in place via a budget amendment shortly after the FDA approved of AAS in 2016. The ban was to be lifted after labeling guidance was determined. In December 2018, the USDA issued guidance that the product would be labeled “bioengineered”, and the FDA determined this satisfies labeling requirements. This determination lifted the import ban of eggs, and will allow AQB to grow AAS for commercial production for the first time in its 28 year history.

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

March 13, 2019– 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 leading 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.

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

March 15, 2019– We believe MBII represents a compelling investment opportunity given its pure play positioning within the high growth biological space. Furthermore, with agricultural markets struggling amid low commodity prices, high yields and international trade concerns, we expect MBII to be among the organic growth leaders over both the short and long terms. Given its positioning and growth outlook, we believe MBII shares represent an attractive investment for value and growth investors alike.

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

February 14, 2019– Revenue of $18.6 million modestly beat our estimates of $18.0 million. Excluding the impact of ASC 606 and inorganic contributions, the top line grew 14% on a year-over-year basis, which represents the highest level of organic growth in three years.

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Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN: Buy, $5 PT)

January 23, 2019– We are establishing coverage of Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN) with a Buy rating and twelve month price target of $5.00 per share. While our price target represents upside from current levels of over 400%, given the potential and revenue profile we believe this could even prove to be conservative. Should royalty agreements be reached with the industry leaders in various crops, the integration of YTEN traits into seed could lead to a royalty stream with value well in excess of its current market capitalization. In the SMID cap agriculture market, we believe there is arguably no proprietary technology more potentially disruptive than what YTEN has developed.

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