Centuria secures 21ha Katunga Fresh glasshouse, VIC

6 May 2024

Australasian real estate fund manager, Centuria Capital Group (ASX: CNI or “Centuria”), has further expanded its agriculture portfolio with the acquisition of Katunga Fresh’s 21-hectare glasshouse facility in Katunga, VIC.

The transaction increases Centuria’s total agriculture AUM to $0.65 billion with a total glasshouse portfolio of more than 100 hectares.

The asset will be owned by the unlisted, open-ended Centuria Agriculture Fund (CAF or “Fund”). CAF’s portfolio now encompasses five of Australia’s large-scale tomato glasshouse infrastructure facilities. The Katunga acquisition increases CAF’s portfolio AUM to c.$450million with a 17-year WALE and 100% occupancy.

The off-market sale-and-leaseback transaction was secured on a 20-year triple-net lease. Operator, Katunga Fresh, is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of tomatoes and it has operated from this site for 20 years, supplying Australia’s major supermarkets with year-round produce.

Jason Huljich, Centuria Joint CEO, said, “The Katunga facility is a high-quality precision farming asset, which aligns perfectly with our investment strategies and is backed by a strong tenant covenant. We aim to continue expanding CAF into one of Australia’s largest, sector-specific agriculture funds providing Centuria investors with access to high quality real estate opportunities, which in our view are critical Australian food bowl infrastructure assets.”

Katunga’s lighting technology increases growing hours, produce yield and aids in offsetting the seasonality of production. The asset has production capacity for approximately 16,000 tonnes of truss tomatoes per annum. In addition to glasshouse facilities, the acquisition includes large packing sheds, energy infrastructure, significant bore water licences and substantial onsite water storage capacity.

Andrew Tout, Centuria Head of Agriculture, said “We are pleased to partner with Katunga Fresh whose focus on high-efficiency production systems provide it with a genuine point of difference in the marketplace and enables the operator to generate a consistently profitable supply of fresh tomatoes and capsicums all-year-round.

“Katunga Fresh has been operating since 2004 and was one of the nation’s first adopters of glasshouse production. It continues to be an innovator within the precision farming market.”

Katunga Fresh has focused on creating a low-cost, clean energy operation utilising the latest quad gen technology and is investigating additional renewable energy technologies which target lower energy costs as well as providing an improved sustainability outcome.

Katunga is approximately 230 kilometres north of Melbourne and 45km north of Shepperton VIC. It is within the Goulburn Valley region.