Hillston almond farm sells for $98m to American investors

An almond orchard in the New South Wales Riverina has been sold for $98 million to a foreign investment group.

The property is 3,841 hectares, which reflects $25,514 per hectare.

The sale is conditional on Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Mooral is located 25 km south west of Hillston.

Mooral was sold by ASX-listed investment trust Rural Funds Group which told the ASX in a statement that "contracts have been exchange for the sale of the Mooral almond orchard for $98 million (subject to various adjustments and inclusions) with a global agriculture and timberland investment manager as nominee for a special purpose vehicle that will be owned by pension funds and institutional investors."

It further stated, "it was conditional on completion of due diligence (within 45 days but subject to possible extension) and Foreign Investment Review Board approval". 

It is understood the property has been sold to a North American investment group, Hancock Agricultural Investment Group.

The 3,841-hectare horticultural property, Mooral, features 808ha of productive almond trees which were planted in 2006 and 2007.

It was the water entitlements that boosted the property's value.

Mooral has 9 kilometres of frontage to the Lachlan River, and water entitlements including 10,305 megalitres of Lower Lachlan groundwater (of which 3,225ML is subject to a lease), 470ML of Lachlan River regulated high-security water and 1,443ML of Lachlan River regulated general security surface water.

The Australian almond industry is now Australia’s most valuable horticultural export industry.  

The Australian Almond Board reported an increase in export sales of 19% to $740 million over the 2015 marketing year, with Australian almonds sold to 50 countries and India comprising close to $200 million in sales. 

World almond demand has now surpassed production, and according to the Australian Almond Board, sales volumes are constrained by the availability of almonds.  

Tags: 
Water Rights Almonds

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