Australian agribusinesses remain resilient: Colliers International

Australian agribusinesses remain resilient: Colliers International
Australian agribusinesses remain resilient: Colliers International

In Brisbane the permanent plantings and viticulture sectors are the stand out performers in Australian agribusiness industry, with large transactions occurring in 2018 across macadamias, citrus, avocados, almonds and vineyard sectors, according to Colliers International.

The latest Colliers International Agribusiness Research and Forecast Report found, water pricing and water tradability is enabling these sectors to continue to be developed even during the severe drought event.

Rawdon Briggs, Head of Agribusiness, Transaction Services at Colliers International said, “looking forward, agribusiness property values will hold firm in well recognised regions, despite the climatic challenges impacting on cashflows and cash reserves. This drought event has had higher commodity prices than we have seen in previous events over the past four decades."

“It shows in the resilience of the market data. The weaker AUD and free trade agreements are supporting export activity, partially offsetting the downside risks. Australian agricultural trade surplus has grown sharply for the past decade and will continue trending upwards. Agribusinesses is now a standalone asset class and will continue to attract investment from offshore and high net worth groups adding capital."

“Colliers International track completed land deals above $5 million across Australia, with this data showing increased sales numbers YoY to 2018, as the neighbour to neighbour market kicked into gear fuelled by lower cost of debt and higher commodity prices resulting in 254 deals and $3.34 billion in sales in 2018."

Mr Briggs added, "this calculation does not include three large deals executed in 2018, which have now settled in Q1 2019. If these had settled as planned in 2018, Australia would’ve surpassed the peak capital investment high of $3.45 billion and 242 deals completed in 2016.”

The report found that one of the best performers over the last year has been the Macadamia sector with land prices increasing and a steady nut supply. 

Colliers predict that established macadamia orchard demand will remain strong in 2019 and 2020. 

According to Colliers experts the Australian wine industry is approaching a point where demand will outstrip supply. This has translated into significantly higher volumes of property transactions.

Tim Altschwager, National Director, Agribusiness, Transaction Services at Colliers International said buyer enquiry has focussed on vineyards offering scale and efficiency or premium quality fruit. “Larger producers are also offering three and five-year grape supply agreements to secure supply and mitigate rising fruit prices.

“We observe continuing interest from overseas investors in Australian wine industry assets, particularly for premium assets, on the back of continued growth in the value of wine exports. Proven domestic industry operators are increasingly active.

“We expect this will increase competition for credentialed assets. Generally, less favourable growing conditions in South Eastern Australia will lead to a smaller 2019 wine grape crop compared to 2018. This will increase demand for wine grapes and place upward pressure on fruit prices and vineyard values,” stated Mr Altschwager.

Over the last 12 months, ground water prices in the Lower Murray (NSW), Murrumbidgee (NSW) and Katunga (VIC) have seen a sharp appreciation nearly doubling in market value.

Mr Nick Cranna, National Director, Agribusiness, Valuation & Advisory Services said, "we anticipate that water entitlement prices will gradually rise in 2019 although it is difficult to see another year of strong capital appreciation as was experienced in 2018."

“In the unlikely scenario we receive normal inflows into the Southern Murray Darling Basin over the winter months we still believe this will have little bearing on water investors buy mandates into 2019 and 2020,” concluded Mr Cranna.

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Colliers International Agribusiness

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