Friday, 13 September 2019 11:30

Investors hopping into horticulture

Written by  Staff Reporters
Hops growing at Motueka .SUPPLIED/The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited. Hops growing at Motueka .SUPPLIED/The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited.

Low interest rates are driving record enquiries for cash yielding real assets, says the rural syndicate property investor MyFarm Investments.

Within three days of the Reserve Bank of NZ cutting the OCR by 0.5% to a record 1%, the company had 60 investors take up its offering of two SunGold kiwifruit orchards ($8.2 million), it says. 

MyFarm chief executive Andrew Watters says in contrast to many other cash yielding investments, the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit offer was expected to generate average returns of 9% over the next five years.

“Investors are seeking cash yield, they are seeking investment diversity to spread risk and they like the market-led focus of Zespri and the sector’s record of innovation.”

The company recently withdrew a diversified horticultural offer, Kakariki Fund Ltd, from the market. It was seeking $40m but raised only $30m.

Watters says despite its disappointment, the company sees a clear mandate to offer investors direct investments in single real assets.

“It seems investors love the touch and feel of a specific investment, be that a kiwifruit orchard, cherry orchard or hop garden.”

MyFarm is now seeking to raise $22.5m for its second large scale hop garden development in Nelson. Wairua Hop Garden Ltd partnership is a 175ha dairy farm on the Motueka River due for conversion in the next two years. 

The company expects to distribute cash after 2.5 years, building to 14% p.a. It also expects tax benefits.

Its management partner Hop Revolution is targeting global craft brewers wanting the tastes and aromas of NZ bred hops. Other institutional investors, including NZ Super, are also investing in Nelson hop gardens, Watters says.

“They’re eager to gain exposure to NZ hops and the premiums the US craft brewers will pay for them,” he said.

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