The Carpenters Project is a 300-hectare avocado development located in Pemberton, Western Australia, 3.5 hours south of Perth.
Through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), the property is under a 30-year lease with a further 10 year plus 10 year option to build, own and operate a 300-hectare avocado orchard, which once developed, will be one of the largest single avocado projects in Australia.
With approximately 2,500 hectares of current avocado production in Western Australia, this single development has the potential to represent about 10 per cent of WA's planted hectares.
The Company completed a 300ha Feasibility Study in December 2020, which was underpinned by extensive and rigorous analysis, data and modelling. The study confirmed the viability of the large-scale project. Read the announcement here.
Key outcomes from the Feasibility Study include:
• 30-year life span
• Pre-tax NPV8 of $99M and IRR of 22%
• Development capex of $40.6M ($33.8M net of management fees) over 3 years
• Water self-sufficiency with access to 4.1GL dam for irrigation
Alterra will oversee the day-to-day management of the operation for a per-hectare management fee in addition to a yearly crop performance fee, and an investment performance fee.
The property has existing water licensing, and construction has commenced on significant onsite water infrastructure.
Dam 1 – on-stream dam approximately 4,100ML storage capacity.
Dam 2 – off-stream dam approximately 37ML existing storage capacity, with the ability to expand to 850ML.
Alterra is implementing intelligent irrigation and fertigation systems and real-time detection systems for soil and root health. This is expected to deliver increased yield and fruit size to achieve more than 90 per cent premium-grade fruit at 28 tonnes per hectare
Renowned around Australia for its cool climate, mineral rich soils and access to high-quality water, Pemberton produces premium avocados. Due to this unique climate, the Pemberton region can achieve high average annual yields of between 20 tonnes and 30 tonnes per hectare. Based on data provided by Alterra's execution partner French's Group, avocado prices were A$5.44 –A$9.38 per kilogram for the September 2019 to January 2020 harvest period.
Australia currently only exports about 3 per cent of its total avocado production, with significant potential to grow exports into the future, particularly from this unique production area of Pemberton.