Deep Creek Fruits has announced a second capital raise to fund a packhouse and expansion at its Central Otago orchards and has major export plans from December 2021.
Deep Creek Fruits chairman Michael Ambrose says the offer, in accordance with the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, invited wholesale investors to purchase partnership interests in the development which would export cherries to global markets for the first time in 2021/2022.
“I see this as a part of our long-term strategy with a focus on ensuring a sustainable business proposition to enhance investor returns and value,” he says.
Chief executive officer and director Sharon Kirk said it was a chance for investors to take advantage of the highly profitable global export market. New Zealand cherries consistently achieved the highest price per kilo on the world market, she said.
Expansion plans included purchasing and developing additional land for cherry production at Lindis Peaks and establishing the packhouse and export infrastructure required.
Eighty-three hectares has now been planted at Mt Pisa and 36 hectares at Lindis Peaks, with additional land available for development at Lindis Peaks.
The traditional sheep and beef landowners of the orchard sites at Lindis Peaks and Mt Pisa are among the investors behind Deep Creek Fruits. The entity was formed after they expressed a desire to diversify from sheep and beef farming into cherry production and approached horticultural specialists Ross and Sharon Kirk of Hortinvest Management Limited.
“The landowners were looking outside agriculture to generate potentially lucrative and long-term rewards for generations of their families to come,” says Sharon Kirk.
A board of directors represents shareholder interests in the entity. It comprises leading New Zealand legal, financial and business executives with experience across a range of sectors including agribusiness and export.
A fourth, independent director, Richard Perry, was appointed in September. Perry has extensive governance and directorship experience developed across public, private and not-for-profit sectors, ranging from start-ups to mature companies.
Hortinvest manages all services associated with the developments from orchard to export function.
Since the second major planting was undertaken last winter, the irrigation system had been installed, Sharon Kirk says.
Cherries to target Chinese New Year market
Deep Creek Fruits’ first premium quality cherries will be harvested and exported from December 2021 to February 2022 and will target the growing global seasonal and Chinese New Year market.
Up to 20 pickers would be required for the first harvest, with numbers increasing up to 500 per 80 hectares by 2025,” says orchard and project manager Ross Kirk.
Pictured above: Ross and Sharon Kirk.