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MetLife Tops $3 Billion In Agricultural Loans In 2013; International Deals Help Drive Nearly 10 Percent Increase

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) announced today that it originated $3.3 billion in agricultural mortgage loans in 2013 through its Agricultural Investments Department, an increase of nearly 10 percent year-over-year. MetLife is one of the largest agricultural lenders in the insurance industry, managing an agricultural loan portfolio of more than $12 billion.

“Our agricultural mortgage business performed very well in 2013, and MetLife was able to strengthen its position as a leader in the agricultural lending industry,” said Robert Merck, senior managing director and global head of agricultural investments for MetLife. “Our customers know they can rely on MetLife as a trusted source of financing for the long-term growth of their business, and this drives our success year after year.

Consistent with the company’s strategy to grow its business in international markets, MetLife continued to increase lending in Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America. MetLife originated $285 million in agricultural loans to Brazilian producers of cotton, grains and oilseeds, among other crops. MetLife is also actively marketing its agricultural loan services in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Agricultural lending provides MetLife with investment opportunities that match the long-term liabilities the company writes through its insurance products.

“We grew our business both domestically and internationally in 2013 because our customers value our prudent risk management and long-term approach to business,” said Barry Bogseth, managing director and head of MetLife’s agricultural portfolio unit. “In 2014, we expect to continue our growth by identifying superior agricultural lending opportunities in the United States and abroad, especially in key emerging markets such as Brazil.”

Highlights of MetLife’s domestic and international transactions for 2013 include:

Gaylon Lawrence Family

  • $189 million, senior secured 20-year fixed rate loan
  • Secured by improved farmland in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas
  • The security primarily finances cotton, corn, rice and soybean production

Sugar Creek Packing Co.

  • $30 million first mortgage, 15-year loan
  • Secured by processing facilities in Kansas and Ohio
  • Sugar Creek is one of the largest privately owned manufacturing companies providing a range of bacon protein products for the U.S. food service and retail industries

Fazenda São Francisco

  • $50 million first mortgage, 10-year fixed rate
  • Secured by agricultural real estate in Bahia, Brazil
  • Fazenda São Francisco is family owned and one of the largest producers in the region

Paulo Massayoshi Mizote

  • $30 million first mortgage, 10-year fixed rate
  • Secured by agricultural real estate located in Bahia, Brazil
  • Mizote, a traditional producer in that region, primarily farms a mix of soybeans, cotton and corn

Cumberland Tree Farm

  • CA$75 million (US$73.47) senior secured, two tranches: CA$70 million (US $63.2 million) 10-year fixed rate, and CA$5 million (US$ 4.5 million) variable rate with a 10-year term
  • Secured by timberland in Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Cumberland Tree Farm is one of the largest private timberland holdings in Nova Scotia

MetLife’s Agricultural Investments Department oversees an agricultural portfolio of more than $12 billion, consisting primarily of mortgages for farms, ranches, food production, agribusiness and timberland. MetLife has provided agricultural financing solutions since 1917 and is one of the largest agricultural mortgage lenders in North America. MetLife has agricultural investments offices in Fresno, Calif., Overland Park, Kan., Memphis, Tenn., and a consulting office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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