Cherry investors back Lindis River project

New Zealand horticultural investment company, Hortinvest, has planted the first 12 hectares at its $15.5 million Lindis River cherry project in Central Otago after four cornerstone investors committed to underwrite stage one planting.

Planting at Lindis River
Caption: The first of 7,500 trees have been planted at Hortinvest's Lindis River project. Click to download high res image.

Stage two will be undertaken in winter 2020 when a further 23,000 trees will be planted.

Marketing and sales manager, Sharon Kirk, said investors included traditional sheep and beef landowners Lucy Annan and Simon Maling of Lindis Peaks Station. The project spans 80 hectares. The first fruit is expected to be harvested in the summer of 2021-2022.

The Lindis River project is 40 per cent subscribed as negotiations continue with several large corporate investors from New Zealand and overseas.

"It's an exciting milestone to plant the first 7,500 trees at Lindis River. We're pleased these investors had the foresight to get the project underway while we continue to finalise other applications," Mrs Kirk said.

She said winter planting was critical for optimal cherry production outcomes.

"It's best to plant when trees are dormant and the effects of transplanting are minimal," she said.

Horticulture a first for historic family business

Lucy Annan and Simon Maling of Lindis Peaks Station
Caption: Lucy Annan and Simon Maling of Lindis Peaks Station. Click to download high res image.

Investing in the Lindis River cherry project is a first for Lindis Peaks Station farmers Lucy Annan and Simon Maling. The family business, which has a 109-year tradition in sheep and beef farming, has identified horticulture as a means to diversify the business and create opportunities for the future.

"We were very pleased to see the first stage of planting get underway and the orchard begin to take shape. In just a few days the paddock which had cattle on it was transformed with thousands of cherry trees," Mr Maling said.

"Since we decided to invest in horticulture a year ago, it has been an exciting ride and we're looking forward to being part of the cherry story in Central Otago."

Water is piped from the Clutha River via the farm's dam to water the crop.

Lindis River remains open to new investors

While investors have until September 27 to finalise their applications, there was still time for new investors to come aboard, Mrs Kirk said.

"Now's the time for new investors seeking entry into the horticultural investment space or looking for sustainable, long-term, high-return investments which can span generations to buy in.

"As the Chinese proverb says, 'the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now,'" she said.

The minimum investment is $100,000, spread over four years. At full production, financial year returns from 34 to 59 per cent are based on 12 and 18 tonnes per hectare.

Hortinvest's second Central Otago project at Mt Pisa is also making progress with land prepration underway and stage one planting set to begin next week.

Under its business model, Hortinvest sources land, establishes orchards and packhouses, exports and markets produce, retaining all services in-house under the leadership of experienced horticulturalists and cherry marketers Ross and Sharon Kirk.

Lindis River project at a glance:

Value: $15.5 million
Hectares: 80
Water source: Clutha River
Existing and emerging markets: Asia, Europe
Minimum investment: $100,000
IRR: 20.8-25 per cent first 10 years
ROI at peak mature production: 34-59 per cent

Located in Central Otago, New Zealand, Hortinvest Ltd is the leading consultant in New Zealand's emerging and highly profitable cherry and horticulture industry. Hortinvest employs world-leading orchard management and packhouse systems to produce and export premium New Zealand cherries.

(Issued: September 2, 2019)

Issued by Aqua Public Relations on behalf of Hortinvest Ltd. For more information please contact:

Ross Kirk
Project and orchard development manager
(02) 7484 5099

Toni Lucke
Aqua Public Relations
+61 7 3312 2505

Email Toni>