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Qantas Super commits $200m to local agriculture player

By Jessica Penny
3 minute read

The $9 billion fund is backing agriculture investor GO.FARM, with its capital already directed towards enhancing two key assets.

Qantas Super has committed $200 million with agricultural investor GO.FARM to “transform” under-utilised agricultural land into horticultural projects in NSW’s Riverina, northern Victoria, and other parts of Australia.

The fund clarified that $150 million has already been allocated to two GO.FARM assets – Riverina Trust and Sandmount Farms – which Qantas Super said would unlock substantial value by converting more than 5,000 hectares of land with substantial water holdings into high-yielding, water-efficient horticultural crops.

GO.FARM, which has also committed more than $100 million of its own capital to its projects, is a high-conviction agriculture investor, developer and manager, with a focus on growing global demand for healthy, nutritious crops.

With $1.1 billion in assets under management, GO.FARM is Australia’s largest producer of field tomatoes and one of the largest producers of almonds and farm grains, oilseeds, pulses, citrus, and wine grapes.

Moreover, it stewards 88,000 hectares and 94,000 megalitres of water across NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania.

GO.FARM founder Liam Lenaghan said “remarkable investment opportunities” are on the horizon in the Australian agriculture sector.

“The sector has a low correlation to other asset classes and has historically performed well in periods of high inflation,” Lenaghan explained.

“It has attractive, risk-adjusted returns on land value and water, with farmland having a 20-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5 per cent and water entitlements a 15-year CAGR of 6.7 per cent.”

Lenaghan added that with agri-exports already sitting at $80 billion and 3 billion consumers set to enter the global middle class by 2050, Australia is on the cusp of further market growth.

“With the Australian dollar at decade lows and unprecedented interest in climate-smart investment opportunities and demand for high quality agri-products, there has never been a better time to invest in Australian agriculture.”

“GO.FARM is tapping into this dynamic with capital, agri-expertise, water and technology to transform under-utilised farmland into higher value and water efficient crops, unlocking the full potential of our assets. That’s what we will do with these farms in NSW and Victoria, together with Qantas Super.”

Andrew Spence, chief investment officer at Qantas Super, added: “At Qantas Super, we’re committed to identifying investment opportunities that deliver strong financial returns to our members while aligning with our values of sustainability and responsible ownership.

"This investment with GO.FARM aligns with these objectives, providing access to high-quality investment opportunities that offer strong long-term returns. As agriculture specialists, GO.FARM has a clear plan to drive productivity gains, responsible agricultural practices, and generate returns for investors,” Spence continued.

“When you combine Qantas Super’s investment capabilities and partnership approach with GO.FARM’s expertise and prudent capital allocation, you have a platform that will not only optimise returns but deliver generational impacts for agricultural and regional communities,” he concluded.

Qantas Super announced in September that it is seeking a potential merger partner amid a rapid decline in the number of corporate super funds in Australia.

As such, the fund said its trustee board had created a new merger committee in December – comprised of chair John Atkin and directors Lorraine Berends, Luke Murray, Klair Safier, and Richard Garner – to guide the management team throughout the process.

Qantas Super said its readiness to explore a merger had been prompted by a recent review of its scale and prospects.

“After carefully reviewing Qantas Super’s scale, the fund’s growth path, and the legislative and regulatory environment, the trustee believes it is prudent to explore merger options for the future,” the fund said.