News that Costa may be selling berry farms

15th June 2017 12:30 PM
Taiwanese backpacker Yen-hung-chin works on Costa Berries' Range Rd blueberry farms yesterday. Pickers work the Costa Berries farm north of Corindi off Range Rd. Trevor Veale

ACCORDING to media reports today properties leased to berry and avocado producer Costa Group may be sold.

It is believed Costa Asset Management may have appointed Kidder Williams to field offers for 14 properties including those leased by Costa Group.

The Costa's as one of the country's richest families is said to be testing the market to sell properties leased to berry and avocado producer Costa Group, which is among the sharemarket's best performers over the past year.

Sources said Costa Asset Management - which is chaired by Robert Costa, who co-founded Costa Group with his brother and former Geelong Football Club chairman Frank Costa - may have appointed Kidder Williams to field offers for 14 properties including those operated and leased by Costa Group.

The move would unwind some of the Costa family's related party transactions with the listed Costa Group, an arrangement, which has been queried by a number of investors and analysts since the group listed in July 2015.

 

Taiwanese backpacker Ting-yu-Jian works on Costa Berries' Range Rd blueberry farms yesterday.
Costa Group's Range Rd blueberry farm. Trevor Veale

Costa Group floated at $2.25 a share in July 2015 and closed on Tuesday at $4.71.

The properties leased to Costa Group include blueberry and raspberry farms north of Corindi.

"If they did look to sell them, we may or may not be interested in buying them," said Costa Group chief executive Harry Debney when contacted by The Australian Financial Review. 

"They are not a dominant part of our portfolio, we have in excess of 40 farms."

The leases for the Costa Asset Management farms expire in 2026, with options to renew.