Goulburn Valley glasshouse deal boosts Centuria Agriculture Fund's portfolio to $450m

Goulburn Valley glasshouse deal boosts Centuria Agriculture Fund's portfolio to $450m

The Katunga Fresh glasshouse facility in Victoria's Goulburn Valley 

Property fund manager Centuria Capital Group (ASX: CNI) has boosted its portfolio of large-scale tomato-growing glasshouses to five totalling $450 million following the acquisition of a 21ha facility at Katunga, just north of Shepparton, in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region.

While the sale price has not been disclosed, the latest deal has bolstered the Centuria Agriculture Fund’s assets from $351million reported earlier this year.

It follows the fund’s acquisition of a greenhouse and glasshouse facility on the Adelaide Plains in South Australia for $21.5 million announced in January.

The Katunga acquisition was secured via an off-market sale-and-leaseback deal struck with Katunga Fresh, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of tomatoes.

Katunga Fresh, a key supplier to Australia’s major supermarkets, has operated from the site for the past 20 years.

The producer has signed a 20-year triple-net lease on the property, and when combined with the other assets it provides the open-ended Centuria Agriculture Fund (CAF) a 17-year WALE (weighted average lease expiry) and 100 per cent occupancy.

“The Katunga facility is a high-quality precision farming asset, which aligns perfectly with our investment strategies and is backed by a strong tenant covenant,” says Centuria’s joint-CEO Jason Huljich.

“We aim to continue expanding CAF into one of Australia’s largest, sector-specific agriculture funds providing Centuria investors with access to high quality real estate opportunities, which in our view are critical Australian food bowl infrastructure assets.”

The Katunga glasshouse has capacity to produce up to 16,000 tonnes of truss tomatoes per annum by utilising state-of-the-art lighting technology that increase growing hours and deliver higher yields all year round.

The acquisition also includes large packing sheds, energy infrastructure, bore water licences and significant onsite water storage capacity.

“We are pleased to partner with Katunga Fresh whose focus on high-efficiency production systems provide it with a genuine point of difference in the marketplace and enables the operator to generate a consistently profitable supply of fresh tomatoes and capsicums all-year-round,” says Andrew Tout, Centuria’s head of agriculture.

“Katunga Fresh has been operating since 2004 and was one of the nation’s first adopters of glasshouse production. It continues to be an innovator within the precision farming market.”

The Katunga acquisition lifts the total agriculture assets under management by Centuria to $650 million and boosts the footprint of total glasshouse portfolio to more than 100 hectares.

The Centuria Agriculture Fund was launched in early FY23 as an alternative fund vehicle for Centuria and since then it has proved popular with retail investors and private bank investment clients.

Centuria later expanded the concept across the Tasman with the launch of the NZ Agricultural Property Fund seeded with an $18 million glasshouse.

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