One of Australia's leading fresh fruits and vegetables enterprises has entered into an agreement to purchase a central Queensland citrus operation for $200 million.
Costa Group Holdings Limited advised stakeholders on June 23 that it had entered into binding agreements to acquire the business and assets of 2PH Farms, based in Emerald.
It is understood that Costa will pay an additional $31 million in July 2023 for the purchase of the Conaghans property in Emerald, where a new citrus crop is currently being planted by 2PH.
As the largest citrus grower in northern Australia, 2PH has farming operations in central Queensland, with a main growing location and packaging facility in Emerald and a smaller location at Dimbulah.
2PH Farms has more than 1474 hectares of planted citrus trees, and 240ha of planted table grapes, with a further 210ha to be planted at the Conaghans farm by 2023.
Chief operating officer of citrus operation 2PH Farms, Craig Pressler, Emerald, said Costa has an established relationship with 2PH, having successfully marketed 2PH citrus for over 10 years across both domestic and export markets.
"I know and trust Costa, and I'm happy that the business will be owned and run by an Australian company which is not only an industry leader, but also has a genuine commitment to continuing to build on 2PH's reputation for the growing and export of high-quality citrus," Mr Pressler said.
"2PH has had a close relationship with Costa for over a decade through our successful domestic marketing alliance with Bindi Pressler having performed the role of 2PH Marketing Manager, of both the citrus and grape crops.
"We have invested a lot of hard work and effort into becoming the successful business we are today, which is an industry leader, with an established reputation as a breeder and grower of high-quality citrus and an iconic brand both domestically and internationally."
Mr Pressler said 2PH has had a long and successful history, which was started by his parents John and Pam Pressler, his uncle Geoffrey Pressler and Darryl Hess more than 50 years ago.
In 2004, 2PH bulldozed a quarter of a million trees due to a citrus canker disease outbreak.
Related: From canker to the future for 2PH
Costa's strategic benefits following acquisition
Costa expects to maintain a strong balance sheet post Acquisition to support growth opportunities, including greater export supply to key Asian markets, by achieving a 52-week supply.
The company plans to bolster it's production scale by 60 per cent, expanding it's geographical diversity across 4,513 hectares and 11 farms.
Costa Group's chief executive officer Sean Hallahan highlighted a number of strategic benefits for Costa from the acquisition.
Mr Hallahan said 2PH Farms is recognised as a premium citrus grower and exporter throughout Asia.
"There are a number of strategic benefits and alignments that will result from what is a financially compelling acquisition which include, greater export supply to key Asian export markets, production scale, increased variety offering, including rights to commercialise varieties with Plant Breeder Rights (PBRs) in certain jurisdictions, access to a proven 30-year proprietary breeding program, expanded geographic footprint and extended season timing," Mr Hallahan said.
"Costa has been actively engaged in the acquisition of high-quality citrus assets, including our recent acquisition of KW Orchards (Sunraysia) in March 2021.
"2PH is not only a high-quality asset, but it will also complement and enhance our production footprint, our variety offering and market opportunities, both export and domestic.
"We are delighted with this acquisition and look forward to successfully integrating 2PH into the Costa business and further growing our citrus category and its world-renowned reputation."
Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter