K&L Gates Advises Centuria on acquisition of massive glasshouse in Victoria

CEO highlights the significance of the acquisition to a fund

K&L Gates Advises Centuria on acquisition of massive glasshouse in Victoria

K&L Gates, a global law firm, is advising Centuria Capital Group (Centuria) on the acquisition of the 21-hectare Katunga Fresh glasshouse facility in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. This significant asset, according to a company statement, will be integrated into the Centuria Agriculture Fund (CAF), an unlisted, open-ended fund, enhancing its portfolio as it continues to grow into one of Australia’s largest sector-specific agriculture funds.

The Katunga Fresh facility, one of the country’s largest suppliers of tomatoes, has been described to become a major addition to CAF’s assets under management (AUM), raising the total to AU$0.65 billion. The acquisition is expected to be finalized by early July 2024, pending customary conditions precedent.

This off-market sale-and-leaseback transaction includes a 20-year triple net lease, enabling Katunga Fresh to continue its operations on the site where it has produced tomatoes for Australia’s major supermarkets for two decades. The facility employs advanced lighting technology, enabling year-round tomato production, and features extensive infrastructure such as packing sheds, energy systems, bore water licenses, and substantial onsite water storage.

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Jason Huljich, Centuria’s joint CEO, highlighted the strategic value of the acquisition, stating, “The Katunga facility is a high-quality precision farming asset that 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 we view as critical Australian food bowl infrastructure assets.”

The K&L Gates team, led by Sydney-based corporate partner Naomi Philp, with support from senior associate Renee Xue and lawyer Emily Hood, played a pivotal role in the acquisition. Centuria’s chief investment officer, Andrew Essey, praised the team for their exceptional diligence and tireless efforts, noting their successful track record on complex transactions.

“We have enjoyed working with this team over a number of complex and successful transactions, and it’s great to add another to the list,” said Essey.

Philp expressed her satisfaction with the outcome, saying, “We are delighted to have assisted Centuria with this important acquisition as part of the continued growth of the Centuria Agriculture Fund.”

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