As it moves from nuts to property development, the Manera family has put one of Australia's largest macadamia businesses on the market.
Last year, Macadamia Enterprises of Bundaberg in central Queensland produced 1478 tonnes of macadamia nuts (in shell) at 10 per cent moisture from 343.53 hectares planted to macadamia trees.
There's been speculation that the property might command a price of $70 million-plus but Elders Bundaberg agent Baden Lowie was dismissive of the figure and said there would be no price guidance.
While another similarly sized property in the region had been sold for $63 million in the last 12 months, there could be no comparison, he said, given differences in the ages of the trees, Macadamia Enterprise's superior infrastructure and its water availability.
The weighted average tree age is 11.3 years and the 1626.3 megalitres of bore water entitlements have an average annual allocation of 90pc, Mr Lowie said.
The property has been farmed by two generations of the Manera family, which is consolidating its operations as it works through succession plans and focuses on property development.
Headlining this change in direction is a $2 billion residential project in Bundaberg's South Beach precinct.
Even so, investment in the macadamia operation has not been lacking.
The Maneras built a highly-automated nut sorting plant on the property capable of pre-cleaning and sorting up to 4500 tonnes of harvested nuts each year ready for processors to crack and market the nut kernel.
The facility also processes third-party nuts for delivery to Marquis Macadamias.
Mr Lowie said processing the nuts on-farm improved harvesting efficiency and the surplus husks could be composted and added to the mulch applied to the orchards each year.
Heavy investments in soil fertility over the last decade had increased the yield and the quality of Macadamia Enterprises nuts, John Manera Jnr said.
"In 2020, we decided to measure the carbon footprint of the orchards," he said.
"We were confident our carbon emission had dropped as we were using a lot less fertiliser and the soil health was improving.
"We were surprised that we had gone well beyond reducing our emissions - we had reversed them by 1200t compared to 2019. We are immensely satisfied that not only are we producing such a healthy food, we are doing it with an Australian native plant and sequestering more carbon emissions than we produce."
Mr Lowie said the Manera family was highly regarded in the region and that the orchards had set a new standard for yield and nut quality.
"They enjoy an excellent age profile, with substantial increases in production expected in the near term as the orchard continues to mature," he said.
"There are very few opportunities to acquire an orchard of this scale in Australia.
"We expect very strong interest from large family and institutional investors. It's is also likely to attract a lot of international interest."
As security of water resources grew as a challenge for nut producers in North America, Mr Lowrie said, global institutional investors were looking for alternative origins with high and well-managed water security.
Aside from Macadamia Enterprises' large bore water entitlements, Bundaberg receives 1022 millimetres of annual rainfall, enabling the region to grow a wide range of high value agricultural products.
Macadamia Enterprises will be sold by a two-stage expressions of interest process and the first stage closes on March 25.
Contact Elders agents Baden Lowrie on 0427 172 158 or Mark Barber on 0427 603 433.
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