One Harvest is selling its mango orchards

The sale of Australia's largest collection of mango orchards will include a long-term lease with its new operators.

One Harvest, an Australian cut-salad and lettuce producer, is selling its mango orchards for around A$20 million ($15 million; €14 million) according to an industry insider.

Four orchards on 1000 hectares and comprising 140,000 trees in Australia’s NorthermTerritory are for sale.

The orchards are now operated by Perfection Fresh, who will continue to do so.

Tom Robson, director at One Harvest, told Agri Investor that the orchards supply about 40 percent of total domestic market for calypso mangoes, a variety bred and commercialised by One Harvest. Calypsos now make up about 30 percent of the total Australian mango market, and are being increasingly sought from abroad, according to Robson.

New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong , the US, Middle East and Malaysia are expected to import about 715,000 kg of the fruit this year. The company also says the current operator has strong and established access to the Australian market through its largest supermarkets and grocery retailers.

“We are divesting our mango business to concentrate on fresh cut salads and lettuce farming core business,” said Robson. “We have held the orchard for about five years. The actual trees have been in production on those orchards for a lot longer than that. We purchased them and the land five years ago but we were operating the farms for quite a long period of time before that.”

He added that the orchards had potential for further development over 311 hectares, and the sale included water allocations.

Tim Lee, director at PPB Advisory, which is handling the sale, told Agri Investor that such buy-to-lease offers were being increasingly sought-after by institutional investors, particularly in the US.

“It fits into the long term exposure with minimum risk and some cash yield into the mechanism. It’s an area we are starting to see a lot more interest,” he said.

If the property is sold to a foreign buyer, except from Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand or the US, a deal will be subject to approval by the Foriegn Investment Review Board which applies a national interest test to sales over A$15 million.