Investments

Adjusted Total Assets
$1.9 billion
FY24 Forecast Distributions 
11.73 cents
Weighted Average Lease Expiry
12.8 years
ASX Price
Most Recent ASX Announcements

OVERVIEW

Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF) is Australia’s first ASX listed diversified agricultural Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).  RFF is included in the S&P/ASX 300 index.

RFM is the manager and responsible entity of RFF. RFF owns a diversified portfolio of Australian agricultural assets in five core sectors which are predominantly leased to corporate agricultural operators. RFM seeks to generate earnings and income growth through productivity improvements and conversion of assets to higher and better use. Distribution growth of 4% per annum is targeted.

RFF is a stapled security, incorporating Rural Funds Trust (ARSN 112 951 578) and RF Active (ARSN 168 740 805).  

Key metrics

Metrics
31 December 2023
Adjusted total assets1
$1.9b
Adjusted net assets1
$1.2b
Adjusted NAV per unit1
$3.07
Number of properties
67
Sectors
5
Weighted Average Lease Expiry (WALE)2
12.8 years
Gearing3
36.2%
FY24 forecast AFFO per unit
11.2 cents
FY24 forecast distributions
11.73 cents
FY24 forecast distribution yield4
5.6%

FY24f revenue by sector and 1H24 value by sector5

Key Metrics
Notes:
  1. Assets adjusted for the independent valuation of water entitlements which are recognised at the lower of cost or fair value on balance sheet.
  2. Weighted Average Lease Expiry, calculated as the FY24 forecast rent and the year of lease expiry (excludes J&F Australia guarantee fee, income from annual water allocation sales, operating income from owner occupied properties and other income).
  3. Gearing calculated as external borrowings/adjusted total assets.
  4. Calculated forecast FY24 distribution of 11.73 cpu divided by the closing price of $2.11 (20 February 2024).
  5. Figures subject to rounding. Revenue/total adjusted property assets – by sector: cattle $32.9m/$722.6m, almonds $30.3m/$447.7m, macadamias $14.0m/$324.8m, cropping $6.8m/$204.5m, vineyards $4.9m/$60.6m and other $3.4m/$77.0m. Owner occupied properties – Unleased properties which are operated by RFF including macadamia orchards (Swan Ridge, Moore Park, Beerwah and Bauple); sugar cane (Maryborough x6); cropping (Baamba Plains) and cattle (Yarra, Cerberus and Kaiuroo)

STRATEGY

RFF targets distribution growth of 4% per annum. Income growth is achieved through lease indexation, productivity improvements and conversion of assets to higher and better use.

RFF owns a diversified portfolio of agricultural assets predominantly leased to corporate operators. Historically RFF assets have been acquired in sectors where Australia has a comparative advantage and RFM has operational experience.

Information on three key elements of RFF’s strategy including lessee selection, diversification and acquisitions and developments is included below. 

Lessees

RFF lessees predominantly consist of corporate entities, approximately 80% of FY24 forecast income. Several of these entities are also listed on domestic or international securities exchanges, either directly or via their parent entity.

Other lease categories include RFM farming, private farming businesses and direct farming operations. RFM leasing arrangements provide operating experience which can benefit RFF’s asset and sector due diligence, identifying and executing development opportunities and lessee selection and management.

Corporate lessees by sector 1

Lesses
Note:
  1. JBS revenue includes J&F Australia guarantee fee.

Diversification

RFM seeks to achieve multiple layers of diversification within RFF, including by:

  • Asset type: this incorporates diversification across both infrastructure predominant and natural resource predominant assets. More information included under ‘Acquisitions and developments’.
  • Climatic zone: climatic diversification moderates the likelihood of multiple lessees being exposed to adverse weather events at any one point in time (see ASX: RFF Climatic Diversification discussion paper 20 June 2016).
  • Lessees: diversification of counterpart risk. More information under 'Lessees'.

Climatic diversification map1

Diversification

Note:

  1. Shaded areas denote climatic zones differentiated by rainfall seasonality (source: Bureau of Meteorology); see Climatic Diversification discussion paper dated 20 June 2016. Numbers in the circles/boxes on map show number of assets. Blue square boxes denote cattle feedlots.

Acquisitions and developments

RFF will pursue the acquisition of additional assets that grow the quantum and diversity of RFF’s earnings. The investment strategy is to invest across the full range of the asset continuum shown to the right, with the objective of ensuring the asset mix can continue to fund distributions.

Within various agricultural sectors, RFF is pursuing investment opportunities which may provide productivity gains or conversion to higher and better use.

Both strategies aim to lift the value and income earning potential of an asset. The productivity strategy achieves this objective by enhancing a property’s ability to produce a given commodity. Whereas the higher and better use strategy aims to transform the use of an asset to a different, more profitable commodity. Put simply, increased productivity or production of a more valuable commodity enhances the ability of the operator to generate higher profits, leading to a higher valuation and enabling the landlord to charge more rent thus supporting RFF’s distribution growth target of 4% per annum.

Spectrum of investment opportunities1

Acquisitions and Developments

Note:

  1. The income and growth figures presented have been provided to differentiate the profile of income and growth that can be derived from different assets. They are based on RFM’s experience and observations of agricultural lease transactions and historical rates of growth. They are neither forecasts nor projections of future returns. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Manager

RFM has a depth of experience accumulated over 26 years acquiring, developing and operating Australian farmland, agricultural infrastructure and other assets. Sector experience includes almonds, poultry, macadamias, cattle, cropping, viticulture and water.

RFM employs over 220 staff and seeks to maximise returns through its experienced management team including specialist fund managers, finance professionals, horticulturists, agronomists and other agricultural managers. RFM’s key responsibilities in the management of RFF include:

  • compliance to financial, farming and reporting requirements of leases,
  • water asset management including obtaining approvals and engagement with government,
  • management of infrastructure e.g. ongoing and development capital expenditure,
  • coordination of regular independent valuations,
  • facilitating acquisitions, and
  • managing lessee/customer relationships.

Under the RFF constitution RFM is entitled to the following remuneration:

  • management fee of 0.6% pa of adjusted total assets, and
  • asset management fee of 0.45% pa of adjusted total assets.
Geier Vinyard side view

Sustainability

Learn about RFM’s incorporation of sustainability considerations in the management of agricultural assets.