Although Gerry Harvey has sizeable holdings in the agriculture sector, this is the first time his publicly listed company has invested in the agriculture sector and the Coomboona acquisition represents a significant investment outside Harvey Norman’s core businesses of retail and property.
According to Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Simotas, it was not the first time Harvey Norman had diversified into non-retail businesses and property holdings, citing previous investments in holiday resorts and mining accommodation.
But Gerry Harvey’s strategy is most likely linked to a trend by other billionaires to tap the tap Asian demand for Australian dairy products and infant formula.
Gina Rinehart for example, has gone even further, buying dairy assets and land through her private company Hope Dairies. She has also announced plans to invest $500 million to produce baby formula for the Chinese market.