Article by: Hari Yellina
One of Australian horticulture’s most renowned companies is searching for a partner to invest $30 million in its expansion aspirations. Since its inception in 1998, the high-tech glasshouse business on the outskirts of Adelaide has received different government subsidies. The project has expanded to encompass 12 hectares of undercover hydroponics, allowing it to become a significant year-round vegetable supplier to supermarkets and other food stores in Australia. P’Petual Holdings, the company’s owner, is now looking for a partner to help it accelerate its expansion objectives. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants are all prominent crops grown in greenhouses. Colliers expects the half sale to “generate strong interest in the vicinity of $30 million from large food and horticultural firms, universities, and private individuals,” according to the agency.
P’Petual Holdings is a year-round producer, packer, and marketer capable of supplying high volumes of reliable product. Jesse Manuel, Colliers’ head of agricultural transactions, said the P’Petual firm had grown beyond its Buckland Park location’s original double-skinned plastic greenhouses. It had expanded in recent years to include a six-hectare modern glasshouse development, as well as an administration and service facility. “With the addition of the additional production space, our client has solidified its position as a major player in the tomato, mini-cucumber, and eggplant categories, as well as pre-pack lines under its well-known Ausfresh brand,” Mr Manuel added.
“The owners are open to a variety of transaction formats, and we feel that the founders’ expertise and industry ties, which they have built over two decades, would complement fresh capital wanting to take advantage of P’Petual’s present demand.” Passive investors may be interested in an equity partnership to accelerate further construction and growth of the existing firm, or a sale and leaseback of real assets to unlock expansion money, according to Mr Manuel. In 2017, the company announced intentions to more than treble its footprint to encompass 28 acres of covered space. Henry Liu, co-owner and operator, expressed his enthusiasm for the company’s future prospects.
“With an excellent product line, a huge and diverse client base, and plenty of acreage for expansion, we’re not only selling a turn-key firm as a continuing concern, but also one with a production area that can be nearly doubled in size rather rapidly,” Mr Liu explained. Tim Altschwager, Colliers national director of agriculture transactions, said the P’Petual firm places a strong emphasis on sustainability. “P’Petual is implementing a number of steps to guarantee that the company’s environmental effect is as low as possible,” he stated. Adopting recovered rainwater, recycling carbon dioxide emissions, and using integrated pest management are just a few of the latest innovations. “The advantages of such operations include improved production yields, lower costs, and a lower carbon footprint,” Mr Altschwager explained.
“Supermarkets and other national clients, such as marketers, market wholesalers, and agents, seek out the company’s services because of its capacity to offer big amounts of consistent product on a regular basis,” he said. Protected Cropping Australia estimates that the indoor cropping industry is worth $1.8 billion per year at the farm gate. It accounts for 20% of Australia’s total vegetable and cut flower production and is growing at a rate of 4-6 percent per year. Protected cropping, according to Mr. Manuel, allows growers to have significantly more control over environmental conditions and produce all year to take advantage of high out-of-season prices. Colliers is seeking proposals from investors and prospective buyers through expressions of interest to close in mid-July.