- Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets has offered to either acquire 100 per cent of issued units in Vitalharvest (VTH) by way of a trust scheme, or all the assets of VTH for $300 million in case the trust scheme is not approved.
- Costa Group, the leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables in Australia, supports any outcome that provides ongoing certainty concerning the farms leased from Vitalharvest.
- There are seven farms leased by Costa from Vitalharvest, which Costa considers as legacy arrangements.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) has proposed a fully funded, all-cash offer to acquire ASX-listed agricultural landowner Freehold Trust (ASX:VTH). The offer was made to Perpetual, Vitalharvest’s Responsible Entity.
The offer includes to either acquire 100 per cent of the issued units in Vitalharvest by way of a trust scheme, or failing which the company proposes to buy all the assets of Vitalharvest for $300 million.
Country's leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables Costa Group Holdings Limited (ASX: CGC) has noted the announcement and supports any outcome that provides ongoing certainty concerning the farms' Costa leases from Vitalharvest. Costa would be comfortable if MIRA's bid turns out to be successful.
Currently, there are seven farms leased by Costa from Vitalharvest - three citrus farms in South Australia and four berry farms (two in NSW and two in Tasmania). There are two large citrus packing sheds which are owned and operated by Costa and pack Costa and third-party grower fruit.
Costa considers these as Vitalharvest leases as legacy arrangements, and any following expansion by Costa beyond those sites in the berry and citrus categories has not included and will not include Vitalharvest under any variable lease arrangement.
Costa's relation with MIRA
Costa has an existing productive relationship with Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, which are all based on fixed rental arrangements operating under 20-year leases. Costa has leased several avocado farms from MIRA.
Costa has made it clear that in case MIRA becomes successful in its offer, Costa would be confident that the current Vitalharvest leases could be restructured and would be value-adding over the medium to longer term. The leases could be restructured with the intention that they convert to a fixed rental arrangement that reflects terms consistent with market conditions.
Costa operates principally in five core categories as the grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit & vegetables including Glasshouse tomatoes, Citrus, Avocados, Berries, and Mushrooms
Costa Groups's operations include nearly 4,700 planted hectares of farmland, three mushroom growing facilities across Australia, and 30 hectares of glasshouse facilities.
The company has strategic foreign interests, with majority-owned joint ventures including six blueberry farms in Morocco and four berry farms in China.