National horticultural producer Costa Group has entered into a deal to purchase Central Queensland-based citrus enterprise 2PH Farms for more than $220 million. The acquisition will help Costa extend its citrus-growing season, access new mandarin varieties and break into the Chinese market. Though labour shortages are an ongoing concern, Costa Group is confident it can cope with the extra workforce demands.
Costa Group citrus general manager Elliot Jones told ABC Rural the deal resulted from a longstanding relationship between the two companies, and would enable Costa to expand its export operations.
“We’re primarily an export-focused company with some very strong domestic programs,” Jones said. “It provides access into … 2PH’s core market of China, whereas Costa has been primarily focused on Japan … with minimal exposure to China. We’ve long held a desire to build a greater presence in China and this will also help as we bring that 2PH China program into our business.”
Costa Group, which has distributed and marketed 2PH citrus fruit for a decade domestically, expanded into exports this year.
The company told Inside FMCG it is buying 2PH to take advantage of its ‘established brand presence in Asia, higher citrus category revenue, exclusive rights to proprietary brands, and larger production scale, together with expanded geographical diversity for crops’.
Costa Group CEO Sean Hallahan said that Costa has been actively engaged in acquiring high-quality citrus assets, citing its recent acquisition of Sunraysia-based KW Orchards in March 2021. “2PH is not only a high-quality asset, but it will also complement and enhance our production footprint, our variety offering and market opportunities, both export and domestic,” Hallahan said.