Farm management company, Velcourt Group has announced that it has partnered with experienced Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) agricultural property professionals Mintridge International to provide outstanding agricultural investment opportunities, managed through a Bucharest-based joint-venture company called Velcourt SRL.
Recognising the current demand for agricultural investments, Velcourt and Mintridge have researched various European countries and identified Romania as having the strongest case when measured against a number of key criteria. These include land availability, price and potential, legal framework, agricultural scope and climate suitability.
Velcourt’s farm management expertise, its deep base of technical knowledge and full range of services enables investors to build viable and profitable farming businesses, whilst also benefiting from capital appreciation of the land itself. Land prices in Romania are currently some of the lowest in Europe but are expected to strengthen and converge with those of Western Europe they have already experienced year-on-year increases of 20% since the countrys accession to the EU in 2007.
To help maximise the value of the investments, Mintridge will use its expertise in the acquisition and management of land to consolidate fragmented plots of land, thereby optimising the efficiency of farming activity.
In addition to the low land values, the quality of the soil in Romania is excellent. A belt of Chernozem soils black earth soils renowned for being the most suitable for arable farming pass through a section of CEE countries and account for roughly one-fifth of Romanias farmland. This is aided by an extensive irrigation system fed from the Danube river which flows into the Black Sea and also provides cheap and efficient trade links to the rest of Europe and further afield.
The joint-venture company is also able to draw fully on the experience of the management team at Velcourts UK headquarters, thereby benefiting from knowledge transfer between the groups existing farming operations, networks and partnerships.
Commenting on the investment opportunity and the partnership with Mintridge, James Townshend, CEO of Velcourt Group, said:
We at Velcourt have frequently been approached by investors looking for opportunities to invest in the ownership and operation of farmland. Having researched numerous countries, we believe Romania offers a compelling case for the three central factors that makes land an attractive asset-class: scope for land value growth, the ability to acquire freehold land, and the soil quality for farming the land. Mintridge, through its knowledge and expertise of land acquisition and management, promises to be an excellent partner in optimising this opportunity and we are delighted to be working together.
Norman Paske, Managing Director of Mintridge International, added:
Romania has enjoyed a highly successful few years since its accession to the EU as an existing investor in Eastern European farmland, I have been following this progress closely and believe it is just the start of a long-term trend. Improved governance, together with the access and opportunity granted by excellent infrastructure and trade routes, indicate that Romania should no longer be considered a frontier market. We are thrilled that Velcourt shares the same positive outlook and are privileged to be able to partner with such a prominent force in farming.