Wednesday, 18 July 2018 07:55

Northland orchards on the market

Written by  Pam Tipa

Seeka put nine Northland kiwifruit and avocado orchards on the market last week, including six it recently acquired from Turners and Growers.

The Northland properties totalling 288ha are up for bidding for five weeks until August 15. 

This follows Seeka’s $40 million purchase in April of T&G’s post-harvest facilities in Kerikeri for the packing and storing of avocados, kiwifruit and citrus. Additionally, T&G sold its Kerikeri kiwifruit orchards and all its Zespri shares to Seeka – the latter valued at about $2m. These are also for sale.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the company had always intended selling the Northland land as it focussed on refurbishing the post-harvest facility. 

“And this is an excellent opportunity for investors to gain a significant stake in prime New Zealand horticultural orchards and land, with a mix of mature orchards in and in development, [growing] kiwifruit and avocados.” The holdings include bare land for future development.

Franks says the move to sell is consistent with strategy and Seeka’s business model. 

“We are looking for a large scale investor or consortium to own these orchards with professional orchard management and post-harvest services in place from Seeka. 

At the same time, Seeka is investing in the fundamental post-harvest infrastructure with new packing facilities and coolstorage planned for Kerikeri.”

The 288ha for sale include 68ha planted in Gold kiwifruit, including 34ha of the high-returning Zespri SunGold variety. Spread over nine properties, it also includes significant plantings of Hayward Green kiwifruit, Enza Gold and Enza Red kiwifruit, 28ha of Hass avocado, 15ha of lemons, and 38ha of bare land suitable for kiwifruit development and 4ha suitable for avocado development.

Seeka had previously identified the region as a growth area for avocados and kiwifruit. With avocado developments the company is expecting demand for post-harvest facilities to increase. 

It says growing conditions had also proven favourable for kiwifruit, particularly gold varieties.

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