Tie-up to create one of Australia’s largest vertically integrated apple, mango and mandarin businesses

Red Rich Fruits' director Matthew Palise

Red Rich Fruits’ director Matthew Palise

Red Rich Fruits (NSW) has entered into an agreement with Batlow Fruit Company and its majority owner Ausfarm Fresh Horticulture Holding to align the three entities and form one of Australia’s largest vertically integrated apple, mango and mandarin businesses.

The tie-up, which brings together significant orchard operations across Batlow, Stanthorpe, Berry Springs and Gayndah, is focused on achieving greater critical mass and a larger base for capital investment, the companies said in a joint statement. 

The combined entity also expects to benefit from increased “economies of scale”, “significant cost synergies” and ”a core focus on sustainability”.

“We’re incredibly excited about the future. Together, we will be stronger, leaner and more sustainable,” said Red Rich Fruits (NSW) director Matthew Palise. “Moving forward the combined entity will be well positioned to expand and continue to grow and produce Australia’s favourite fruit varieties”.

Batlow Fruit Company acting chairman Peter Reading said: “This opportunity to combine the resources of Red Rich Fruits (NSW), Batlow Fruit Company and Ausfarm Fresh will position the business to thrive in the future. Batlow has provided Australians for 102 years with the best-quality apples, and will now continue to do so with a significantly stronger management team and platform.”

The tie-up is set to consolidate, streamline and reinvigorate the apple, mango and mandarin categories, the partners said, with the new entity well positioned to combine management, marketing and sales network resources.

The combined entity, which has substantial landholdings in two of Australia’s leading apple growing regions – Batlow and Stanthorpe – will grow a range of apple varieties including Pink Lady, Royal Gala, Granny Smith, Red Fuji and the up-and-coming Cosmic Crisp. It also grows Kensington Pride mangoes in Berry Springs, and Imperial and Murcott mandarins in Gayndah.

Red Rich Fruits’ New South Sales apple, mandarin and mango business was launched in 2010 and it has around 400ha of fruit under production, a distribution centre in Eastern Creek and a wholesale stand at the Sydney markets.

Red Rich Fruits secured the exclusive Australian rights to grow and market Cosmic Crisp apples in 2019, and the company believes the variety has the attributes to reinvigorate the apple category in Australia with its firm, crisp texture and delicate balance of juiciness, sweetness and tartness. The company has invested heavily in developing the Australian production base for Cosmic Crisp.

Batlow Fruit has been growing apples for more than 100 years in high-altitude regions in the Snowy Mountains, Orange and Stanthorpe. In 2017, the company became part of Ausfarm Fresh, a Queensland-based group which runs one of the largest vertically apple production businesses in Australia.