Roc Partners’ Flavorite becomes largest owner-operator of glasshouses in Australia

Roc Partners first invested in Flavorite in July 2020 and has been expanding the business organically since.

Flavorite Group, the Australian tomato producer backed by Roc Partners, has expanded through a merger with businesses owned by the Murphy family in Victoria, formerly known as Murphy Fresh and Tatura Fresh.

The two Murphy family businesses grow truss tomatoes in glasshouses across two sites in the state covering 15 ha.

Roc Partners said the deal makes Flavorite Group the largest owner and operator of glasshouses in Australia and that expansion plans are underway to build a further 16 ha of new glasshouses, with an eye on further growth in regional Victoria.

The value of the merger with the Murphy family businesses has not been disclosed and Roc Partners declined to comment.

Roc Partners manages an investment in Flavorite Group that was made in July 2020 through the Victorian Business Growth Fund, a A$250 million ($192 million; €162 million) vehicle that launched in June 2020. The VBGF includes a commitment of A$200 million from Aware Super.

Since that investment, Flavorite Group has undertaken organic expansion by adding commercial blueberry and cucumber plantings at its Warragul site.

The firm said “acquisitions, mergers, growth and diversification were all on the strategic agenda” after the Roc Partners investment last year.

Roc Partners managing partner Michael Lukin said in a statement: “Roc is delighted to support the merger of these two great Victorian businesses to provide additional scale, production efficiencies and geographic diversification.

“The Murphy and Flavorite teams already operate closely together, and the family-owned cultural similarities should lead to a relatively simple integration.”

Agri Investor revealed in February that Roc Partners is nearing a close on its inaugural agriculture-focused fund, which has a target of A$200 million and a hard-cap of A$300 million.

The fund forms part of the equity funding strategy for Roc Partners’ Vitalharvest bid, for which it is tussling with Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.