HAIG divests Australia's largest macadamia portfolio to Belgian sugar producer Finasucre in $60M deal

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Global AgInvesting | 22 October 2019

HAIG divests Australia's largest macadamia portfolio to Belgian sugar producer Finasucre in $60M deal

By Lynda Kiernan
 
Belgian sugar producer Finasucre has agreed to acquire the Winfield Road aggregation – the largest Macadamia portfolio in Australia – from Hancock Agricultural Investment Group (HAIG) for a record-breaking $59.2 million. 
 
The deal was carried out through Hancock’s local subsidiary Ironbank Farming Company, which sold the property to Finasucre’s TQ Holdings.
 
Located nearly 60 kilometers north of Bundaberg in Queensland, Winfield consists of 10 properties and 18 titles, and totals 1,018 hectares (2,515.5 acres), including 644 hectares (1,591 acres) of mature macadamia orchards. The aggregation also includes secure licenses for 1,838 megaliters of water rights.
 
Finasucre expressed in its latest annual report that diversification into new crops is a priority for the company, which despite being the only organic sugar provider in Australia, saw a difficult year throughout the 2018 campaign. 
 
“Crop diversification remains a priority for the company in order to try to guard against too much influence from world sugar prices,” stated the company, adding that it had doubled down on the cultivation of sweet potatoes, and has begun producing broccolini, raspberries, and blueberries.
 
Finasucre goes on to say that its macadamia harvest was strong, adding A$4.4 million (US$3 million) to the company’s turnover. 
 
“The profitability of this activity is significant and we will continue with its development by investing in existing orchards,” noted the report. “The outlook for this activity is positive, notably with regard to prices which should remain the same, with global demand far outstripping supply.”
 
Geographically, Finasucre has bought into a prime production area. Since 2000, macadamia output in Bundaberg has grown fivefold, making it the top macadamia producing region in Australia by 2016, producing 19,900 tons of nuts in-shell (at 3.5 percent moisture).
 
Across the region there are approximately 75 growers with total area under canopy of 6,800 hectares (16,803 acres), and the region’s wide, flat topography and water scheme with 600 kilometers of pipelines and channels guarantees irrigation during the dry season, according to Australian Macadamias. 
 
(*Interesting fact – 70 percent of the world’s macadamias can be traced back to a single tree in the small Queensland town of Gympie. This gives the crop an extremely narrow genetic diversity.)
 
This record-breaking deal also gives Finasucre a greater stake in macadamia production at a time when both global demand and prices continue to climb for the crop. Expectations are that the global market will see a CAGR of approximately six percent between 2018 and 2024, and will grow from a value of US$2.99 billion in 2017 to US$4.5 billion by 2024, according to Zion Market Research. 
Original source: GAI
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