The horticultural landscape is swiftly changing, with projects steadily growing more intricate, says Folco Faber, the Director of Apex Greenhouses. A shift in the customer base has been noted, as corporate interests supersede family operations, contributing to an increased investment influx from Private Equity, super funds, and publicly-listed companies worldwide.
Apex Greenhouses, a renowned constructor of large-scale commercial structures for Australia and New Zealand’s horticultural industry, including university R&D projects, Botanic Gardens, and packing sheds, has adapted to these changes. The company has completed its most significant project to date, a 130,000 sqm greenhouse in Victoria, reflecting the increasing scale of such initiatives.
Faber forecasts a robust growth trajectory for the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry, predicting up to 30% annual growth in the Asia Pacific region by 2026. Factors driving this include the escalating need to adapt to climate change, greater certainty in growing conditions, and growing customer preference for locally grown, high-quality greenhouse produce. In partnership with other entities within and outside the GreenV group, Apex Greenhouses is geared up to design and deliver future-proof and seamless horticultural solutions.
As Faber points out, multiple factors propel the industry towards indoor and greenhouse-based growing, including extreme weather patterns, scarce labor, and soaring water, energy, and fertilizers input costs. Considering that greenhouse-grown produce uses significantly less water and land than field-grown produce, Faber expects high prices to prompt a further shift towards controlled environments for growing.
The industry has seen significant consolidation in recent years, which led Apex Greenhouses to form a strategic partnership with GreenV, thereby gaining access to the latter’s knowledge and resources. This move has ensured that Faber and James Harris, General Manager of New Zealand Operations, retain complete control of the daily operations and facilitate personal growth and development opportunities for their dedicated staff.
This collaboration will also enhance the company’s customer offerings. A key focus is energy efficiency improvements, lower carbon footprint energy generation for food production, and harnessing automation to boost labor efficiency.
Established by Dutch immigrant Leo Faber in the late 1970s as Faber Glasshouses, the company rebranded as Apex Greenhouses. Initially, it focused on building greenhouses before transitioning to manufacturing steel-framed greenhouses. For the past 15 years, Leo’s son, Folco Faber, and Mr. Harris have spearheaded the company’s operations in Australia and New Zealand.
GreenV, an international stakeholder in CEA businesses specializing in climate control, sustainable energy, heating, and electrical engineering, has welcomed its partnership with Apex Greenhouses. The collaboration aligns with its ambition to expand the global mid- and high-tech greenhouse industry, recognizing the industry’s significant growth potential due to climate change, even in Australia.
PWC M&A and Tax Sydney Team provided advisory services to Apex Greenhouses Australia, with legal advice from CorrsChambersWestgarth and additional assistance from Brown Wright Stein. Apex Greenhouses New Zealand received legal and tax advice from MinterEllisonRuddWatts and Baker Tilly Staples Rodway. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
Image provided by Apex Greenhouses