Centuria’s agriculture assets grow beyond A$500m with sale-and-leaseback of 21ha glasshouse

Australasian real estate fund manager, Centuria Capital Group has expanded its agriculture portfolio with the acquisition of Katunga Fresh’s 21ha glasshouse facility in Katunga, Victoria.

The transaction increases Centuria’s total agriculture assets under management (AUM) to more than A$650m with a total glasshouse portfolio of more than 100ha.

The asset will be owned by the unlisted, open-ended Centuria Agriculture Fund (CAF). CAF’s portfolio now encompasses five large-scale Australian tomato glasshouse infrastructure facilities including P’Petual Holdings in South Australia.

The off-market sale-and-leaseback transaction was secured on a 20-year triple-net lease. Operator, Katunga Fresh, is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of tomatoes and it has operated from this site for 20 years, supplying Australia’s major supermarkets with year-round produce. 

Jason Huljich, Centuria joint chief executive said the glasshouse was a perfect fit.

“The Katunga facility is a high-quality precision farming asset, which aligns perfectly with our investment strategies and is backed by a strong tenant covenant,” said Huljich.

“We aim to continue expanding CAF into one of Australia’s largest, sector-specific agriculture funds providing Centuria investors with access to high quality real estate opportunities, which in our view are critical Australian food bowl infrastructure assets.”

According to Centuria, Katunga’s lighting technology increases growing hours, produce yield and aids in offsetting the seasonality of production. The asset has production capacity for approximately 16,000 tonnes of truss tomatoes per annum.

In addition to glasshouse facilities, the acquisition includes large packing sheds, energy infrastructure, significant bore water licences and substantial onsite water storage capacity.

Andrew Tout, Centuria head of agriculture, said “We are pleased to partner with Katunga Fresh whose focus on high-efficiency production systems provide it with a genuine point of difference in the marketplace and enables the operator to generate a consistently profitable supply of fresh tomatoes and capsicums all-year-round”.

“Katunga Fresh has been operating since 2004 and was one of the nation’s first adopters of glasshouse production. It continues to be an innovator within the precision farming market,” said Tout.