A $13 million investment into orchards growing the niche export apple brand RockitTM, has been oversubscribed.
Rural investment specialist company, MyFarm Investments closed its Rākete Orchards Limited Partnership offer last Friday. MyFarm Chief Executive, Andrew Watters says the Rākete Orchards attracted 67 investors at an average investment level of $195,000.
"The enthusiasm of investors' response, especially at this time of year, shows New Zealanders understand and want to share in great brand stories like RockitTM," says Watters.
The miniature RockitTM snack apples, packaged in a distinctive plastic tube, are grown under license in 9 countries and sold in airports, sports stadiums, and in cafés in 29 countries. One of the company's challenges has been growing sufficient apples to meet global demand. In 2017 production was 40% higher than the season before and the apples sold out 10 weeks earlier than the season before despite a solid price increase to the growers.
Rākete Orchards Limited Partnership will lease and fund the planting of 55 hectares across four orchard blocks in the Heretaunga Plains of Hawkes Bay. The orchards will be planted exclusively in the PremA96 or RockitTM apple variety. This will be the only new planting of new orchards with RockitTM apple trees in New Zealand in 2018.
Andrew Watters says Rākete Orchards Limited Partnership is projected to generate a higher return than the darling of NZ horticulture, Gold3 Kiwifruit.
"It's a stunning product and an outstanding, unusual investment opportunity. Like Zespri, Rockit has cleverly marketed its niche as a sweet crisp, small apple perfect for snacking and then carefully controlled its licensing and supply."
He says it was particularly pleasing that 25 staff from MyFarm and Rockit Global also chose to invest via a special company set up to give them access to the offer.