A new Centuria agricultural fund is buying a $177 million glasshouse – one of Australia’s largest – in the regional Victorian town of Warragul.  

The Warragul glasshouse was a climate-controlled cropping facility covering 33.5 hectares or approximately 40% of the total site. 

It had a 19-year sale-and-leaseback, triple-net lease to Flavorite, the biggest glasshouse producer of fresh fruits and vegetables in the country.  

The property is the first asset for the Centuria Agriculture Fund, which will target assets leased to experienced agricultural operators, as well as associated agri-logistics assets with correspondingly favourable lease terms. 

Centuria Joint CEO Jason Huljich said the fund had a two-prong investment strategy.  

“CAF intends to carefully partner with select operators who have a strong track-record in producing high-yielding produce and who are well established with extensive experience throughout various weather cycles,” Huljich said.  

“It will primarily focus on precision farming assets, such as glasshouse production, netted crops, vertical farming and properties with access to water, substrate growing and automated harvesting.  

“Secondly, we will target assets aligned to the agricultural supply chain, such as processing, storage/cold storage and distribution to meet the paddock-to-plate demand.” 

Centuria Joint CEO John McBain said the company branched into the agriculture sector following its merger with Primewest in July 2021. 

“Strong fundamentals that underpin the sector include population growth forecasts, which increase demand for food domestically and internationally, robust free-trade agreements supporting exports, and an $80.4 billion gross value agricultural production forecast for 2022, contributing approximately 2% to Australia’s GDP,” McBain said. 

Centuria manages seven agriculture properties worth about $343 million in total. 

The transaction comes after Shenhua Watermark Coal sold a 16,500-hectare parcel of land that was earmarked for a mine in the Gunnedah region of New South Wales in a deal worth about $120 million in January.  

The landholdings were carved up and sold to a group of local farming families and a corporate institution following an agreement made with the NSW Government last year.  

Prior to that, Proterra Investment Partners sold one of Australia’s largest land holdings, selling its 22,500ha Corinella cropping portfolio for more than $360 million.   

The portfolio held cropping properties in the Western District and Wimmera regions of Victoria and the southeast region of South Australia.