Australian almond plantation acquired by London private equity firm

09 Feb 2018

UK-based Cibus Fund has purchased a 400-hectare almond orchard in Victoria, Australia for an undisclosed price.

Australian Financial Review says Cibus Fund, whose assets include global food production and food-chain properties, has major acquisition plans in Australia and a mandate to invest in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Owned by ADM Capital LLP, a London-based private equity firm, Cibus Fund identifies global opportunities to create value from ‘mismatches between the supply and demand of high-value foods like almonds,’ according to Rob Appleby, co-Chief Investment Officer, ADM Capital.

The almond orchard has a planted area in excess of 1,000 acres and is located in Victoria’s prime horticultural district of Sunraysia. The mature orchard is expected to generate target production of approximately 1,400 metric tonnes of almonds per annum.

‘Our acquisition aims to take advantage of Australia’s counter-cyclical almond production to the United States and offers a mature, high-yielding asset that will deliver near-term cash flows over a long duration investment,’ says Jason Silm, Head of Agriculture at ADM Capital.

Australia for counter-cyclical almond production

The Land reported that in 2016–17, California, which grows 80 per cent of the world’s almond crop, increased annual almond production and sales by 16 per cent, at an average of 15 cents a pound (0.45 kg) – a price premium on the previous year.

‘Australian nuts are considered a premium product in the northern hemisphere off-season,’ says Karen Caston, Senior Investment Specialist, Austrade. ‘This counter-cyclical production is an investment driver for an increasing range of investors, particularly for horticulture, which includes high-value foods such as almonds.

‘Almonds are of particular interest due to millennials’ increased consumption of almond milk, flour and other dairy-free and vegan options, and the general growth of consumers interest in wellness foods.’