By Ian Neubauer
The Macquarie Group will use its nascent agricultural fund to become a major wine grape grower in Australia through the planned purchase of existing large-scale vineyards with proven track records.
The Macquarie Diversified Agriculture Fund (MDAF) publicised the founding unit of its portfolio this week: the acquisition of Chalmers Vineyard in southern NSW.
The MDAF will aim to deliver consistent cash yields and capital appreciation, and will acquire industrial-type agricultural operations in industries that may include tree nuts, dairy and soft commodities in addition to wine grapes.
“With increasing food demand in Asia, resulting from both population and economic growth, we are seeing many investment opportunities within the Australian and global agribusiness environment,” said Macquarie Alternative Assets Management director, Anthony Abraham.
“Demand is also being driven by the rapid expansion of the bio fuel industry resulting in strengthening competition between feed, food and fuel for agriculture products. These dynamics are driving increased returns through the supply chain and back to the farm gate,” he said.
The MDAF is looking to deliver returns between seven and nine per cent.