Western Australia almond asset with 26GL of water hits market – exclusive

‘Project Blossom’ has been put up for sale by a WA-based family office investor and comes with significant development potential.

An established 810ha almond orchard in Western Australia has been put up for sale, expected to attract institutional buyer interest thanks to its location and development potential.

According to a teaser document seen by Agri Investor, the asset dubbed ‘Project Blossom’ covers a total freehold area of 5,577ha, with around 1,000ha of that suitable for further development on top of the existing 810ha almond orchard.

The asset comes with 26 gigalitres of underground (recharge aquifer) water licenses, 14GL of which are used for the orchard’s existing operations and 12 GL of which is earmarked for further development.

It is also home to a 9.5MW wind farm, which provides 75 percent of the power requirement for the existing operation.

The identity of the seller is not disclosed in the teaser, but a source familiar with the sale process told Agri Investor it is a local, WA-based family office investor.

The teaser does not discuss a potential value but it is expected to be “significant”.

The source described the almond orchard’s location in WA as “unusual” and said it could be a chance for an investor to diversify its portfolio if it has exposure to horticulture in Australia’s other traditional almond-growing regions.

The asset’s water security is touted as a major selling point, with the water licenses considered to be of high security, especially when compared with similar horticultural assets in Australia’s eastern states, which are subject to variable water allocations in any given year.

The asset has achieved an actual yield of 1.7 tonnes of almonds per hectare in 2022, but this is forecast to increase to more than 3 tonnes per ha by 2028 if the new owners deliver on an already-devised investment plan.

That includes a scheme to double current irrigation capacity to improve yield, invest in a ‘shake-to-ground’ harvest system to reduce windfall losses and invest in a pre-cleaning and processing facility that would materially reduce transport costs.

Advisory firm Azure Capital is sell-side adviser for the process.