1. Sydney-based property funds manager CorVal has become the latest investment group to see value in food refrigeration logistics facilities, labelled by commercial real estate group CBRE as the move “from mining to dining”.

    CorVal, whose shareholders include former Multiplex chief executive Andrew Roberts, acquired stage one of Montague’s new refrigerated logistics facility in Truganina, plus two portions of expansion land on behalf of institutional investors, in a deal valued at about $48 million.

    refrigerated facilities have been tagged as the next industrial growth asset, as rising food sales drive ups demand for cool and cold storage space.

    The sale of the 16,960sqm facility, currently under construction and due for completion in November was done at an initial yield of 8 percent.

    Ian O’Toole, co-director of CorVal, said the facility was attractive because it as new, and because there appears to be a complete lack of vacancy for cool and cold storage facilities.

    “We did a search nationwide and found just one vacancy, which was due for redevelopment so it was zero,” Mr O’Toole said.

    CorVal acquired the refrigeration facility as part of an investment mandate from its wholesale institutional clients.  Mr O’Toole said CorVal has made investments totalling $500 million for the three institutions, believed to be superannuation funds, but this was its first investment in cool and cold store facilities for the fund.

    The sale was negotiated by CBRE’s Chris O’Brien, Matt Haddon and Rory Hilton.

    It closely follows the sale last year of two refrigerated warehouse in Victoria and Queensland to Sydney-based investment group Propertylink for $63.4 million.

    “Rising sales turnover in the food retail sector has been one of the key market drivers, underpinning strong occupier demand for this style of facility,” Mr O’Brien said.

    Montague Cold Storage, which operates refrigerated warehousing facilities on behalf of groups like Fonterra, Lion and Heinz, has signed a 20-year lease over the facility at Wyndham Industrial estate in Melbourne’s west.

    It was developed jointly by Montague and Melbourne-based Qanstruct.  The development manager was the Gibb Group.

    AFR – 12 March 2014