Four family-owned orchard businesses in Victoria's Goulburn Valley are merging into one company, backed by foreign investments. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is a Canadian fund that manages more than $200 billion in assets around the world. It has now used its Australian subsidiary, AustOn Corporation, to invest in the merged company, called Pomona Valley.
The four orchard businesses involved are the Varapodio family's Oakmoor Orchards, Turnbull Brothers Orchards, Pickworth Orchards and the Hall family's Chatswood Farm. All are located west of Shepparton at Ardmona, Tatura, Mooroopna and Toolamba and include more than 500 hectares of orchard, water rights, additional land and two packing-house operations.
The size of AustOn's investment has not been disclosed but according to abc.net.au, the deal is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.