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Matthew Jones

BY MATTHEW JONES

@matt_fruitnet

Seeka considers Australian orchard sale

Strategy consistent with Australasian company’s recent approach in New Zealand

Seeka considers Australian orchard sale

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Seeka has told shareholders it is considering the sale and leaseback of “some or all” of its orchard portfolio in Australia.

The Australasian fresh produce company said the move would provide funds to accelerate kiwifruit orchard development and to repay debt.

Located near Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, the portfolio includes over 273ha of orchards currently in production or development, with approximately 278ha available for new development. This includes 163ha of kiwifruit vines and 110ha of European and Asian pears, of which 21ha are new variety pears yet to come into full production.

Seeka acquired the orchard portfolio from Bunbartha Fruit Packers for A$22m in 2015.

The potential sale comes after Seeka reported its 2019 Australian harvest was significantly impacted by record high temperatures and dry growing conditions in the Goulburn Valley.

In a statement issued to shareholders via the New Zealand Exchange (NZX), Seeka said the strategy is consistent with its recent approach in New Zealand, where orchards were purchased in the Northland region and sold to third parties with a secure term packing commitment.

Seeka also revealed it has invested close to A$50m in Australia across its post-harvest and orcharding business.

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