Centuria buys Flavorite glasshouse from Roc Partners

The listed investor will acquire the asset in two separate 50% tranches, raising a new fund that will eventually own the entire asset.

ASX-listed agriculture and real estate investor Centuria has acquired the Flavorite Warragul Glasshouse from Flavorite, a business owned by Roc Partners-managed funds.

Centuria will acquire a 50 percent stake in the asset up front for A$88.5 million ($66.4 million; €57.5 million), with the other half retained by Flavorite. Centuria then has an obligation to acquire the remaining 50 percent on the same terms within a six-month period.

The listed firm said it intends to establish a new fund vehicle in that period that will own the entire asset.

The Warragul asset is a 33-hectare glasshouse in Victoria and is leased to Flavorite for 20 years, with rent commencing at A$10 million per year and annual increases of 3 percent. It is Flavorite’s central production facility, growing its main crop of tomatoes as well as capsicums, cucumbers and blueberries.

Roc Partners manages an investment in Flavorite that was made in July 2020 through the Victorian Business Growth Fund, a A$250 million vehicle launched in June 2020. The VBGF includes a commitment of A$200 million from Aware Super.

The firm has invested in expanding the Flavorite Group since its acquisition, supporting organic growth as well as a merger with businesses owned by the Murphy family in Victoria, formerly known as Murphy Fresh and Tatura Fresh, that expanded its glasshouse footprint in the state.

Roc Partners is raising capital for its first fund dedicated to food and agribusiness, and is expected to hit a first close before the end of 2021.

Centuria announced the purchase of the glasshouse to shareholders alongside another real estate acquisition in South Australia.

Joint CEO Jason Huljich said in a statement: “These high-quality, rare-to-market acquisitions illustrate Centuria’s strong transactional capabilities and ability to expand its real estate platform with assets underpinned by excellent leasing covenants. They are both good examples of Centuria using its balance sheet capacity to encourage new fund initiatives and to accelerate growth in assets under management.”

Centuria entered the agriculture market for the first time this year after its merger with fellow listed investor Primewest, which itself first moved into the space in 2020.