Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan buys Australian avocado farm

01 Feb 2018

Canada-based Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) has acquired Jasper Farms, one of Australia’s largest avocado producers, for an undisclosed amount.

Based near Busselton in Western Australia, Jasper Farms encompasses approximately 360 hectares of avocado trees. It produces avocados from August to February and is one of Australia's highest-yielding avocado orchards.

An OTPP media release says the transaction was driven by local demand for avocados, which has surged as more consumers embrace the fruit as a healthy food.

Industry figures collated by Avocados Australia, the nation’s peak industry body, show that Australians ate 82,000 tonnes of avocado in 2016–17, equating to approxmately 3.5kg per person – a significant jump from 3.2kg per person in the previous year.

‘Avocados are difficult to substitute and their unique flavour and nutrient profile have helped them benefit from the growing demand for health foods in Australia and internationally,’ says Andrew Claerhout, OTPP Senior Managing Director, Infrastructure and Natural Resources. ‘The acquisition of Jasper Farms underscores OTPP’s mandate to seek long-term investments in well-managed, producing agriculture properties to meet the growing global demand for food.’

Sellers Neil and Ian Delroy add: ‘We are very pleased that Ontario Teachers’, a long-term investor with solid asset stewardship and a good cultural fit for the business, has chosen to expand its Australian agribusiness investments through the purchase of Jasper Farms.

‘Through a focused approach to excellence, technology, proven systems and leading research and development, over the past 13 years our team has built a world-class avocado business that we are exceptionally proud of.’

OTPP is Canada's largest single-profession pension plan, with C$180.5 billion in net assets at 30 June 2017. It holds a diverse global portfolio of assets, approximately 80 per cent of which is managed in-house, and has earned an annualised gross rate of return of 10.1 per cent since the Plan's founding in 1990.