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Maple Leaf Investments buys Morbinning asset for $580,000

ByLachlan Burrows
INTERNATIONAL interest in Western Australian sandalwood has resulted in a Canadian/Indian investment group, Maple Leaf Investments Pty Ltd, purchasing a 64ha* sandalwood plantation in Morbinning for $580,000.

The property at Lot 7151 Morbinning Road was east of Beverley in the Wheatbelt region and was successfully sold after sale agents from other companies had tried and failed to sell the asset after two years on the market.

The property was marketed internationally and sold by a Director of Ray White Commercial (WA) and Sales and Leasing Agent Lachlan Burrows.

Mr Burrows said the plantation included a three-bedroom house, additional accommodation, a large shed and machinery, and had more than 4,000 established sandalwood trees, the majority of which were 12-years-old – so ready for harvest in five to eight years.

“Farm gate prices for sandalwood trees when ready for harvest are currently around $500 per tree,” Mr Burrows said.

“That’s approximately $16,000-$17,000 per tonne for the heartwood oils used in essential oils and fragrance bases, as well as the aromatic timber used for incense and joss sticks.

“There’s strong demand for Western Australian sandalwood on international markets due to the aromatic oils found in mature wood, and is seen superior to Indian sandalwood, which has become increasingly rare due to previously uncontrolled harvesting in the sub-continent.

“The sandalwood industry is one of the oldest export industries in WA. The first exports were recorded in 1844 and at one-time, wild Western Australian sandalwood provided more than 30 per cent of WA’s export income.

“The buyers of the property in Morbinning have appointed a local farm manager and plan to increase the plantation by more than 20,000 trees as soon as possible.”

Mr Burrows said after the sale and the international interest generated, Ray White Commercial (WA) have been appointed to sell another adjoining property of 63ha*, for $500,000.

“This has around half the number of sandalwood trees, but several hundred are ready for immediate harvest, which’ll provide income for the buyer straight away,” he said.

“The property is predominantly cleared which’ll allow for the plantation to be significantly increased by as much as 30,000 or more new plantings.

“There are a number of other plantations that have been established, as sandalwood occurs naturally in the southern part of the state, and is a hardy small native tree. Its nuts can also be harvested and are edible.

“Ray White Commercial (WA) foresees a growing interest for this class of farm asset locally, nationally and internationally, in acquiring and establishing sandalwood plantations.”

*Approximately.

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