Australia’s largest banana grower Mackays has reportedly put its entire farming operations up for sale.
The operating business of the tropical fruit company could be sold for as much as A$180m ($116.2m), according to The Australian Financial Review.
The interests of the owning family reportedly diverged too much for it to stay in charge of the operation.
The company’s nine farms spread across the Tully and Lakeland regions of Queensland span 5,861 hectares and account for roughly 13% of the national banana crop.
The family company employs more than 500 people, generates annual revenues of A$75m and has expanded into avocados, papaya, coffee, lychees, cacao and beef production.
“Every week, we truck 45,000 to 50,000 15kg cartons of bananas to supermarkets – that gives you an indication of the size of the business,” Alex Hutton, CEO of Mackay Farming Group, told AFR.
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JLL Agribusiness will handle the sale of the business. Senior director Chris Holgar told AFR: “The Mackay family is synonymous with horticulture in Far North Queensland and have a successful 75-year history of building their banana (and tropical fruit enterprise) from small beginnings to being Australia’s largest banana producer.”
Australian banana growers reportedly sold nearly A$600m of the fruit to consumers in fiscal 2021, making up 362,000 tonnes. This is forecast to grow 417,000 tonnes by 2026, according to the Australian publication.
Hutton added that Mackays had a strong commitment to sustainable farming practices.
“The group’s farms are currently being audited to ensure carbon sequestration strategies also deliver optimal results,” he said.
“Surplus banana production is not wasted, with the development of freezing operations in Tully, which process an increasing volume of packed frozen bananas.”
Last year, the Mackays sold a 514.4-hectare former sugarcane property near Bundaberg to macadamia entrepreneur Dyson Bogg for more than A$9m.