There are just 36 agriculture stocks listed on the ASX. This article will give an overview of all 16 of the companies which have a market capitalisation greater than $100 million. Where appropriate, the market share of each company in their respective markets will also be discussed. If you are looking for an overview of ASX-listed food companies, click here [coming soon]. If you are looking for an overview of ASX-listed aquaculture companies, click here.
As you can see in the pie graph below, ASX-listed agriculture companies are dominated by Incitec Pivot, GrainCorp, Nufarm and Inghams Group. The total market capitalisation of all ASX-listed agriculture companies is $18 billion. This figure would be substantially lower if we excluded Incitec Pivot’s explosives business and the food manufacturing businesses of companies such as Sunrice and Select Harvests.
Here is a list of all ASX-listed agriculture companies:
|Company||Approximate Market Capitalisation|
|Incitec Pivot (ASX: IPL)||$5,220,000,000|
|GrainCorp Limited Class A (ASX: GNC)||$2,140,000,000|
|Nufarm Limited (ASX: NUF)||$1,920,000,000|
|Costa Group Holdings (ASX: CGC)||$1,630,000,000|
|Inghams Group (ASX: ING)||$1,620,000,000|
|Rural Funds Group FP Units Stapled Securities (ASX: RFF)||$750,000,000|
|Elders Limited (ASX: ELD)||$705,000,000|
|Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX: AAC)||$678,000,000|
|Select Harvests (ASX: SHV)||$655,000,000|
|Webster Limited (ASX: WBA)||$576,000,000|
|Ricegrowers Limited (Sunrice) (ASX: SGLLV)||$434,570,000|
|Ridley Corporation (ASX: RIC)||$431,000,000|
|Dongfang Modern Agriculture Holding Group (ASX: DFM)||$382,530,000|
|Ecofibre Limited (ASX: EOF)||$247,000,000|
|Vitalharvest Ordinary Units FP (ASX: VTH)||$174,000,000|
|Duxton Water Limited (ASX: D2O)||$170,000,000|
|Duxton Broadacre (ASX: DBF)||$59,000,000|
|Australian Dairy Group FP Ordinary/Units Stapled Securities (ASX: AHF)||$44,100,000|
|Murray River Group (ASX: MRG)||$38,600,000|
|Wingara AG Limited (ASX: WNR)||$27,850,000|
|Keytone Dairy (ASX: KTD)||$26,250,000|
|Wellard Limited (ASX: WLD)||$25,500,000|
|Roto-Gro International Limited (ASX: RGI)||$24,770,000|
|Anatara Lifesciences Ltd (ASX: ANR)||$23,000,000|
|Farm Pride Foods (ASX: FRM)||$19,310,000|
|Esense-Lab Limited Chess Depositary Interests 1:1 (ASX: ESE)||$15,910,000|
|Bojun Agriculture (ASX: BAH)||$11,540,000|
|Bio-Gene Technology (ASX: BGT)||$11,000,000|
|Croplogic Limited (ASX: CLI)||$10,500,000|
|Abundant Produce Limited (ASX: ABT)||$6,970,000|
|Wide Open Agriculture (ASX: WOA)||$6,210,000|
|Jiajiafu Modern Agriculture Limited (ASX: JJF)||$5,370,000|
|Esense-Lab Limited Chess Depositary Interests 1:1 (ASX: ESE)||$4,360,000|
|Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd (ASX: ROO)||$3,720,000|
|Agricultural Land Ordinary Units FP (ASX: AGJ)||$3,120,000|
|Australian Agricultural Projects Limited (ASX: AAP)||$2,590,000|
Incitec Pivot Ltd (ASX: IPL)
Incitec Pivot is the largest agriculture related company on the ASX, although much of their EBIT comes from their explosives businesses outside of the agriculture sector.
Incitec Pivot was listed on the ASX in 2003 when Incitec Fertilizer (part of Orica Ltd) merged with Pivot group. The same year, Incitec Pivot purchased Southern Cross Fertilisers from BHP. In 2006 Orica Ltd sold its 70% stake in the company. Two years later, Incitec Pivot expanded enormously when it purchased Dyno Nobel, a global explosives manufacturer.
Incitec Pivot has facilities throughout the Asia Pacific, North America and Africa. The company has three business units:
- Dyno Nobel Americas
- Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific
- Fertilisers (Incitec Pivot Fertilisers and Southern Cross International)
The Incitec Pivot fertilisers business manufactures and sells urea, ammonium phosphates, superphosphate and anhydrous ammonia throughout Australia. The products are sold in gas, liquid and solid forms.
Southern Cross International procures raw materials for Incitec Pivot’s manufacturing operations in Australia. Incitec Pivot’s trading subsidiary, Quantum Fertilisers Ltd sells and distributes products manufactured by Incitec Pivot within Australia and overseas. Quantum fertilisers is managed by Southern Cross International.
Incitec Pivot dominates the domestic fertiliser market. The company has a 42.3% market share of the Australian fertiliser manufacturing market. The only other major manufacturer is CSBP Fertilisers, a subsidiary of Wesfarmers. CSBP has a 13.8% market share of the fertiliser manufacturing market. CSBP primarily operates in Western Australia.
The Dyno Nobel Americas business also manufactures and distributes a small amount of nitrogen fertilisers throughout the United States.
The fertiliser business is a low margin business compared to explosives, with the fertilisers segment contributing 38% of Incitec Pivot’s revenue but just 18% of EBIT.
GrainCorp Limited Class A (ASX: GNC)
GrainCorp was admitted to the ASX in 1998. GrainCorp was originally established as a Statutory Authority originally called the Grain Elevators Board and later renamed the Grain Handling Authority. In 1993 the Authority was incorporated and renamed GrainCorp Operations Limited, eventually resulting in GrainCorp’s admission to the ASX is 1998. GrainCorp is the largest pure-play agriculture company on the ASX.
In late 2018 GrainCorp announced a portfolio review. The review resulted in GrainCorp planning to demerge its malt business into a separate ASX listing, the sale of GrainCorp’s Australian Bulk Liquid Terminals assets and the integration of GrainCorp’s Grains and Oils divisions (‘New GrainCorp’).
Additionally, in late 2018 GrainCorp received an unsolicited, indicative and non-binding proposal from Long-Term Asset Partners Pty Limited (LTAP) to acquire the company. In May 2019 LTAP stated that they were unable to proceed with the offer.
At the time of writing GrainCorp has three divisions: Malt, Grains and Oils. The Grains and Oils division (‘New GrainCorp’) consists of grain origination, handling, storage, marketing, trading and processing operations in addition to canola crushing operations. GrainCorp is a vertically integrated business and has the largest grain storage and marketing network in eastern Australia. It also has a presence overseas in Canada and Ukraine.
The Malt division consists of MaltCo. MaltCo is the fourth largest independent maltster in the world. MaltCo has a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of malt per annum across the U.S, U.K, Australia and New Zealand. As stated above, MaltCo will likely become an independent ASX listed company in the future.
Nufarm Limited (ASX: NUF)
Nufarm is a crop protection and seed technology company which operates predominately in the off-patent segment of the crop protection market. Crop protection products include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Off-patent crop protection products are products whose technical active ingredient’s patent has expired. The seed technology business involves developing superior seeds for crops such as canola, sorghum and sunflower.
Nufarm has facilities in nine countries throughout Australia, Latin America, Europe and North America. The company has a marketing presence in 30 countries and distributes its products in 100 countries. This presence was developed over many years primarily through acquisition.
The company’s largest shareholder, Sumitimo Chemical Company, has a strategic alliance with Nufarm which increases Nufarm’s distribution, manufacturing and development ability. Nufarm is the market leader in crop protection products in Australia and has a substantial presence in Europe, Asia and North and South America. Nufarm has a 55.7% market share of the Australian pesticide manufacturing market.
Costa Group Holdings (ASX: CGC)
Costa Group Holdings was admitted to the ASX in 2015. Costa is the largest horticultural company in Australia. The company grows mushrooms, blueberries, raspberries, citrus, bananas, tomatoes, grapes and avocados throughout Australia. The produce is sold domestically and exported internationally. They are the largest fresh produce supplier to Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. Costa also has a small number of farms in China and Morocco.
In Australia, Costa Group is the number one:
- producer of blueberries and raspberries
- grower, packer and marketer of citrus
- producer and pre-packer of mushrooms
- producer of glasshouse-grown tomatoes (including tomatoes grown under contract at third party locations).
The company has three divisions: Produce, International and Costa Farms & Logistics. Costa Farms & Logistics was created to increase the company’s vertical integration and to better meet the strict product specifications of retailers.
Inghams Group (ASX: ING)
Inghams Group is Australia’s largest vertically integrated poultry processor and the second largest integrated poultry processor in New Zealand. The company was founded in 1918 by Walter Ingham and was listed on the ASX in 2016 by private equity firm TPG. TPG acquired Inghams Group in 2013 for $869 million from Bob Ingham. Inghams services the quick service restaurant, retail and food service distribution and wholesale markets throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Inghams also owns a stockfeed business. This business produces stockfeed for use in the equine, pig, dairy and poultry industries. The majority of feed produced is used internally within Ingham’s poultry operations.
Inghams owns 352 poultry related assets across Australia and New Zealand consisting of 1 quarantine facility, 9 feed mills, 84 breeding farms, 11 hatchery’s, 224 broiler farms, 7 primary processing facilities, 6 further processing facilities, 9 distribution centres and 1 rendering facility. Inghams owns assets across the entire chicken and turkey supply chain.
Inghams Group has a strong market presence in Australia with the Inghams brand of chicken and turkey products being well recognised throughout Australia. In New Zealand, Ingham’s Waitoa brand of free range chicken is well known.
The Australia poultry processing industry is dominated by two behemoths: Inghams Group and Baiada Poultry. Baiada is best known for its Steggles and Lilydale chicken brands. Inghams has a 27.5% market share of the poultry processing industry while Baiada has a 23.6% market share, according to IBIS World. Other smaller operators include Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm and Turosi.
Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF)
Rural Funds Group is a real estate investment trust which owns agricultural properties throughout Australia. The trust’s aim is to generate stable income and capital growth through leasing its properties to agricultural operators and by improving the productivity of the trust’s assets.
Rural Funds Group owns 49 properties throughout Australia. These properties are used to produce cotton, macadamias, almonds, grapes, cattle and poultry. The trust aims to diversify its properties across different agricultural sectors and climates to minimise risk and provide stable income and capital growth.
Elders Limited (ASX: ELD)
Elders Limited is a diversified agribusiness company which provides a variety of products and services to the agriculture industry. The company has six business segments: retail products, agency services, real estate services, financial services, digital and technical services, and feed and processing services. Elders provides its products and services throughout Australia, predominately in rural areas. The company also operates meat supply chains in Indonesia and China.
Elders has a complicated history. The company originally started out as a division of Holdenson & Nielson Fresh Foods Pty Ltd in 1952. In 1981 the company was listed on the ASX as Futuris Limited. Over the years many acquisitions were made, one of which was Elders, then just an agriculture financier. Throughout the history of Futuris, the company operated various businesses including a broadband network, a brick and tile manufacturer, an air conditioner manufacturer and a car heater and ventilation system manufacturer in addition to the agriculture business. It was only in 2009 when the company was renamed Elders Limited that management started to focus on the agriculture business and finish divesting non-agriculture businesses.
Australian Agricultural Company (ASX: AAC)
Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) can trace its origins back to 1824 making it one of Australia’s oldest companies. AACo listed on the ASX in 2001. The company is a fully integrated beef producer with 19 owned cattle stations, 2 leased stations, 7 agisted properties, 2 feedlots, 2 owned farms and a beef processing facility.
In 2013 AACo embarked on a strategy to become a premium branded beef producer selling primarily to export markets. The company has the largest cattle herd in the world and is reportedly the fourth largest land holder in Australia (7 million hectares), behind Gina Rinehart (12.2 million hectares), the Commonwealth and State Governments (52.4 million hectares) and Aboriginal and Torress Strait Islander communities (190.5 million hectares). AACo has three business segments:
- Sales and marketing of branded beef to global markets
- Ownership, development and operation of pastoral properties
- Beef production including breeding, backgrounding, feedlotting and processing
Select Harvests (ASX: SHV)
Select Harvests is an almond grower, processor, packager and distributor and is one of the worlds largest almond producers. Select Harvests also manufacturers edible nuts, dried fruits, seeds and natural health food products which are marketed domestically and overseas. The company has two main divisions: Almonds and Food.
The Almond Division operates 7677 hectares of Almond orchards in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The almonds produced at these orchards, as well as third party growers, supply Select Harvests facility near Robinvale, Victoria.
The Food Division sells branded almond based products under the Lucky, Renshaw, NuVitality, Sunsol and Allinga Farms brands to retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers in Australia and overseas. The company operates a value-added facility in northern Melbourne which produces muesli, seeds, health mixes, snacks and cooking nuts which are predominately almond based.
Webster Limited (ASX: WBA)
Webster Limited is a food production company which owns a portfolio of land and water assets across New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. Webster’s focus is on long term sustainable farming. The company has four divisions: Agriculture, Water, Horticulture and Livestock.
The agriculture division consists of row crops, primarily cotton but also smaller amounts of wheat, legumes and maize. Webster has approximately 17,160 hectares of irrigable land available for cropping making Webster one of the largest irrigated farming producers in Australia. The agricultural assets are located in the Riverina Region of New South Wales.
The horticulture division consists of the company’s 3422 hectares of almond and walnut orchards in the Riverina Region of New South Wales, and Tasmania. Webster produces 90% of Australia’s annual walnut crop.
The livestock division consists of 320,000 hectares of grazing land for organic dorper sheep and cattle in far western New South Wales and South Australia.
The water division underpins the other divisions, particularly the agriculture division. The water division consists of 153,000 megalitres of water entitlements. Most of the water entitlements are from the Marray Darling Basin.
Ricegrowers Limited (ASX: SGLLV)
Ricegrowers Limited was admitted to the ASX in April 2019 after de-listing from the National Stock Exchange. The purpose of the ASX-listing was to provide greater access to capital markets to fund the company’s future expansion plans. The company is the largest rice processor in Australia and has the exclusive right to export rice from New South Wales. The shares listed on the ASX are B Class Shares which give the holder an economic interest in the business (such as being entitled to dividends) but does not give the holder voting rights. A Class shareholders are eligible to vote and must be a current or former rice farmer. The A Class shareholders make their profit from the Rice Pool Business whereas the B Class shareholder make their profit from the Profit Businesses.
Ricegrowers Limited has two main segments: the Rice Pool Business and the Profit Business. The Rice Pool Business deals with receival, milling and marketing of Riverina Rice primarily sourced from A Class grower shareholders. Payments are made to corporate for the use of brands and assets of the Profit business in addition to sharing the costs of overheads of the Profit Business.
The Profit Business consists of five divisions: International Rice, Rice Food, Riviana Foods, CopRice and Corporate. International rice supplies and markets rice to various markets internationally. Rice Food manufactures, markets and distributes value-added rice products such as rice cakes, rice snacks and ready-to-go meals. Riviana Foods is a specialty gourmet foods distributor of imported and locally produced foods predominately sold under the Always Fresh and Riviana brands. CopRice manufactures and distributes stockfeed based on the by-products of rice processing. Corporate charges the Rice Pool Business for funding and the use of manufacturing assets and brands.
Ridley Corporation (ASX: RIC)
Ridley Corporation is Australia’s largest provider of animal nutrition solutions to the dairy, poultry, ruminant and aquaculture sectors. The company has seven business units: monogastric, ruminant, packaged products, extrusion plants, supplements, rendering and ingredients. Ridley has 24 assets located across Australia and Thailand, four of which are used by multiple business units.
The company owns the Barastoc, Cobber, Ridley, Novacq, Rumevite and Primo Aquaculture brands. Ridley dominates the farm animal feed market, with an estimated 40.4% market share according to IBISWorld. Note that Inghams Group and Ricegrowers Ltd (discussed above) both have minor positions in the industry.
According the Ridley Management’s more nuanced market share analysis, the company has dominant positions in the packaged products and rendering segments of the industry.
Dongfang Modern Agriculture Holding Group (ASX: DFM)
Dongfang Modern Agriculture is a leading harvester of citrus and camellia products in China. Dongfang Modern harvests camellia, navel oranges, pomelo and tangerines from plantations located near Ganzhou City, Jiangxi province in China. The company also owns 70% of an Australian health supplements business, Bio Health Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd.
Over the previous five years Dongfang Modern’s total production has increased from 200,000 tonnes in 2014 to 275,000 tonnes in 2018. The majority of the company’s production comes from tangerines.
Ecofibre Limited (ASX: EOF)
Ecofibre Limited is a hemp focused company which listed on the ASX in March 2019. Ecofibre has three business lines: Ananda Health, Ananda Food and Hemp Black. Ananda Health is a vertically integrated business which produces, distributes and manufactures hemp nutraceutical products in the United States. Ananda Food is a vertically integrated business which manufactures and distributes hemp food products within Australia to wholesale and white label customers. All hemp used in Ananda food products is grown in Australia. Hemp Black intends to use proprietary hemp technology licensed to Ecofibre, for various industrial purposes.
Vitalharvest Freehold Trust REIT (ASX: VTH)
Vitalharvest is a real estate investment trust which owns berry and citrus farms throughout Australia which are leased out to Costa Group Limited. The Vitalharvest trust was created when private equity firm, Paine & Partners, purchased Costa Group in 2011. In the same year Vitalharvest, then a subsidiary of Costa Asset Management, purchased the properties and then leased them back to Costa Group. The trust was listed on the ASX in September 2018. The trust is managed by goFARM, an entity which is 50/50 owned by Costa Asset Management and Liam Lenaghan, Managing Director of goFARM.
Under the lease agreements with Costa, Vitalharvest receives a base rent (8% return on original property costs + capex contributions of Vitalharvest) and variable rent, consisting of a 25% share of the profit generated from the sale of produce derived from properties owned by the trust. The leases with Costa expire in 2026 with an option to extend for a further 10 years.
The trust owns three citrus properties in South Australia and four berry properties in New South Wales and Tasmania. Vitalharvest also owns the water access licences and water entitlements associated with the properties.
Duxton Water Limited (ASX: D2O)
Duxton Water Limited is the only ASX listed company which provides investors with pure-play exposure to an investment in water through ownership of 61.1 GL of water entitlements in the Southern Murray Darling Basin Region. Duxton Water owns approximately 1% of all water entitlements in the Southern Murray Darling Basin of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. The Southern Murray Darling Basin region accounts for 68% of Australia’s agricultural production.
Duxton Water is managed by Duxton Capital (Australia) which is part of the Duxton Group which in turn is part of Duxton Capital Pte Ltd, a Singaporean asset manager. Duxton Capital Pte Ltd manages $1.2 billion of agricultural assets throughout the world. The Duxton Group is owned by Ed Peter, Stephen Duerden and Scott Jaffray.
Even with many of these companies being very well run, their performance of the past few years has been less than stellar. This is mainly due the drought. For example, using Sharesight I back tested what an investor’s performance would have been if they had invested $1000 into the top 15 agriculture related companies (as of today’s market capitalisation) five years ago. For companies which have not been listed for five years, I presumed they purchased the shares shortly after the Initial Public Offering. As shown on the screenshot below, an investment over the last five years would have achieved an annual return of ….. 3.42%. Not great.
The best performer was Elders with a 36.88% annual return while Nufarm was the worst performer with a negative 10.66% return. It is interesting that most of these companies stayed more or less flat over the last five years when you factor in dividends. This underscores the importance of investing while there is blood on the streets and the bad news is well and truly priced in. For example if an investor purchased shares in Sunrice shortly after the IPO they would currently be sitting on a -7.39% return. However, if they had purchased shares in May 2020 they would have made a 20%+ return. While this observation is easy to make in hindsight, it does emphasis the fact that most agriculture investments should be made while there is blood on the streets, on more accurately, while everyone is pessimistic.
And that completes the overview of all ASX-listed agriculture companies with a market capitalisation greater than $100 million. As you can see, there are many agriculture companies on the ASX which provide exposure to various parts of the agriculture industry. For an overview of ASX-listed food companies, click here [coming soon]. For an overview of ASX-listed aquaculture companies, click here.
Sharesight deal for readers: The portfolio back-testing conducted above was made using Sharesight, an online portfolio performance tracking service which calculates your returns and provides tax reports to assist at tax time. If you click on the image below, you can save 4 months off an annual subscription. Disclaimer: If you sign up via the link below I receive a small commission. This commission pays of the hosting of this website as I do not run ads on this site. I would recommend Sharesight regardless of whether I receive a commission.