Firm: King & Wood Mallesons (KKR and Sundrop)
Deal: Investment firm KKR has announced that it will invest in agribusiness Sundrop Farms.
Key players: The KWM team was led by partners Lee Horan (pictured), Mark McNamara, Yuen-Yee Cho, Claire Rogers and James Forrest. Associates Chris Allfrey, Neveen Ayad, Cathy Chan, Charlie Detmold and Alex Elser assisted with the deal.
The development of a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in SA will go ahead following an announcement that KKR will invest in agribusiness Sundrop Farms. The new facility in Port Augusta is believed to be the world’s first solar desalination farm.
Backing from the global investment firm will see a 20-hectare property in Port Augusta transformed into a sustainable farming site. Once completed, the Port Augusta solar desalination project is expected to turn over 15 million kilograms of produce annually. The produce from the farm will be carbon-neutral and pest-free.
It is also hoped that the project will generate more employment opportunities for the SA community.
Sundrop Farms owns, develops and operates sustainable farming sites based on the innovations of locally developed technology. Unlike other agribusinesses, it primarily uses saltwater and sunlight as inputs. The deal with will KKR will see the agribusiness expand its operations across Australia and help Sundrop Farms fulfil a new contract with a major food retailer.
KWM has provided ongoing advice about the development of the Port Augusta facility since 2014 and advised KKR on the latest investment.
According to KWM partner Lee Horan, the deal represents a “unique investment in the Australian agriculture sector”.
“Sundrop is a remarkable business with unique proprietary technology developed to address the water and food security issues typical to arid regions. The transaction touches on a number of strategic areas for King & Wood Mallesons, allowing us to demonstrate the depth of our private equity, agribusiness and project financing capability in and around the region.
“We look forward to working with the [Sundrop] management team and KKR as they pursue their objective of making Port Augusta a hub of agricultural innovation and expand the business into countries with similar environmental conditions,” Mr Horan said.