Hortinvest releases Mt Pisa cherry venture

Leading New Zealand horticultural investment consultancy, Hortinvest, has released its third cherry investment project in two years to meet an unprecedented global demand for premium cherries.

The $15.5 million, 80-hectare project at Mt Pisa, near Cromwell on the South Island, is expected to reach full mature production by the 2025/2026 summer.

Investors seeking opportunities in horticulture - a rapidly expanding investment market in New Zealand - have until March 29, to express interest.

The launch follows the recent release of a $15.5 million, 80-hectare Lindis River project and the successful planting of Hortinvest's first project, Tarras Cherry Corp, due to harvest its first crop in the 2020/2021 summer.

Developments confirm long-term commitment

The Hortinvest team, led by project and orchard development manager Ross Kirk and marketing and sales manager, Sharon Kirk has specific and extensive experience in cherry orchard management practices and export compliance.

Ross Kirk said the latest offering consolidated Hortinvest's intention to develop New Zealand's cherry industry for the long-term.

"New Zealand has distinct key competitive advantages such as the climate and conditions, proximity to markets and free trade agreements with Asia. Hortinvest has the proven expertise to leverage off this to grow and market premium Central Otago cherries to the world."

Hortinvest sources its own land, establishes high-tech orchards and packhouses and markets produce, eliminating the need for third-party contractors.

"This way, we can manage the risks and maximise returns," Mr Kirk said.

Hortinvest secured the Mt Pisa site in collaboration with a leading agricultural producer seeking to diversify into horticulture, he said.

"The project has the scope to expand beyond 80 hectares over time. The vendor has a family farming legacy spanning several generations and the property is ripe for redevelopment," Mr Kirk said.

"Its geographic and climatic attributes tick all the boxes to deliver a large-scale cherry project supported by world-leading orchard management and packhouse technologies and systems implemented by experts.

"The site's significant point of difference is its elevation (some 300 metres above sea level) which means it is naturally less frost-prone. Bird nets and up to eight windmills will bolster the frost-fighting efforts during the crucial spring period," he said.

The Hortinvest team
Caption: The Hortinvest team, from left, orchard foreperson, Mariette Morkel, financial administrator, Katarina Slade, Ross Kirk and Sharon Kirk, combines extensive orchard, export and financial experience.

Click image for high res version.

Mt Pisa project at a glance:

An 80-hectare cherry orchard near Cromwell, Central Otago. Scope to expand over time.
Picturesque site with family heritage value.
Elevated site less susceptible to frosts.
World-leading orchard practices and technology implemented by experienced horticulturalists.
Single-leader growing system to be implemented.
Eight windmills available to fight frost.
Non-retractable bird nets to protect against birds and weather.
Shareholding in a state-of-the-art packhouse equipped with high-tech systems and full traceability.
Support from a team with extensive growing, marketing (in both export and domestic markets) and compliance knowledge.
Key investment features:

A share in a $15.5 million cherry orchard development.
Levered IRR, 20.8-25 per cent projected for first 10 years.
Returns begin five years after planting.
Minimum investment of $100,000 required (spread over four years).
Information Memorandum (IM) now available on request.
Project closes on March 29, 2019.
Cherries burst onto investment scene

According to the Investors Guide to the New Zealand Produce Industry (2017), prepared for the New Zealand Government, horticultural investment opportunities abound, specifically in apples and kiwifruit, with other lines such as cherries emerging as contenders.

Export sales for New Zealand cherries have quadrupled in the past four years with more than 4,000 tonnes exported in 2017/2018. Approximately 90 per cent came from Central Otago.

Mr Kirk said while Hortinvest's initial focus was on cherries, the company had its sights set on other fruit developments in its long-term strategic plan.

"It's too early to discuss specifics, but we have a number of other future orchard developments in the pipeline, outside the cherry space.

"Our current projects are attracting widespread attention from prospective investors. We have the confidence in the horticultural investment market and expertise to deliver significant horticultural projects."

Mr Kirk is a third-generation orchardist with some 40 years' experience in orchard and packhouse development while Mrs Kirk has been involved in New Zealand's cherry industry since the 1990s. She has extensive experience in export marketing and compliance.

Hortinvest offers a complete development and management package. Prospective investors should contact the team via the Hortinvest website.

Visit the Hortinvest website>

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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: January 28, 2019)

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

Ross Kirk
Project and orchard development manager
Hortinvest
02 74845099

OR
Toni Lucke
Aqua Public Relations
+61 7 3312 2505

Email Toni>