Leading Australian almond producer Select Harvest is set to significantly increase the size of its production-base, following the announcement of a new agreement with First State Super, a A$52bn profit-to-member superannuation fund.
The agreement will fund the development of 960ha of Greenfield almond orchards between 2016 and 2017. The deal centres around the sale and leaseback of three of the company’s existing properties in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The development will take place on vacant land on these properties.
Under the agreement, Select Harvest will manage the entire orchard portfolio and retain ownership of the almond crop. The lease term is a minimum 20 years.
“The agreement is the next step in ensuring us to meet our target to grow Select Harvests’ productive capacity to over 20,000 tonnes per annum by FY (financial year) 2024/25,” explained Paul Thompson, Select Harvest’s managing director. “Almond prices remain firm. Both local and global demand continues to grow.”
In other positive new for Select Harvest shareholders, the company has reported a net profit of A$56.8m for the 2014/15 financial year, ending 30 June 2015. Excluding the impact of acquisition transaction costs, the underlying net profit was A$59.4m, a 175 per cent increase on the company’s 2013/14 net profit of A$21.6m.
Gross profit came in at A$89.6m for 2014/15, a 186 per cent increase on 2013/14 (A$31.3m, ).
The performance came on the back of a record crop for Select Harvest, with a yield of 14,500 tonnes, up on 10,500 tonnes produced the previous season. The average price was A$11.45 per kg, compared to A$8.50 per kg the previous year.