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Apex Greenhouses sells minority interest to tackle climate issues

Manufacturing News

Australia and New Zealand’s largest greenhouse builder Apex Greenhouses has sold a minority interest in the company to Dutch-based greenhouse construction company GreenV B.V.

GreenV is a Dutch-based aggregator of smart greenhouse technology suppliers focused on energy efficiencies and climate change issues, while Adelaide-based Apex manufactures locally and internationally.

Apex Greenhouses’ Australian Chief Executive Folco Faber said GreenV would provide access to cutting-edge automation and emissions reducing technologies in a rapidly-advancing Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) sector.

Faber said: “Projects are becoming larger and more complex.

“Our typical client 10 years ago was a family operation and while they are still an important part of our customer base, we see larger corporate interests entering the space with heavy investment worldwide from private equity, super funds and listed companies.

“High tech greenhouse projects are capital-intensive, so the monetary injection is needed if we are to feed the planet.”

Apex Greenhouses constructs large scale commercial structures with its largest project to date a 130,000sqm greenhouse in Victoria.

Faber said the CEA industry was experiencing rapid growth around the world, with up to 30 per cent growth per year anticipated in the Asia Pacific region by 2026.

Much of that growth was predicated on adapting to climate change, the need for more certainty in growing conditions and the need to increase volumes to cater for a growing population.

“We can see many examples locally as to why things are naturally moving towards indoor and greenhouse based growing – extreme weather patterns, scarce labour, higher input costs for water/energy/fertiliser are all causing customers to look for more efficient solutions.

“It is well known within the industry that glasshouse-grown produce uses one fifth of the water of field grown produce and only one tenth of the relative land area per kilogram of produce.”

Faber said that in the past 12 months instances of lettuces selling for $10 suggested high prices were only going to become more prevalent.

“We were at a crossroads as to whether we continued to compete with much larger, better resourced groups of companies and make large investments into our own R&D activities, or partner with one of these much larger groups and leverage off the knowledge and expertise they already had.

“Partnering with GreenV gives us a seat at the table.”

Formerly known as Faber Glasshouses, Apex Greenhouses was founded in New Zealand by Dutch immigrant Leo
Faber in the late 1970s.

Picture: Apex Greenhouses

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