The newly merged $3.3 billion Tasplan has increased its commitment to invest in Tasmania, and sees potential to build the allocation up to 5 per cent of the fund.

Tasplan’s Tasmanian Growth and Development Fund – a joint venture with Nekon, a local property developer and investor – is expected to invest in areas such as food, agriculture, renewable energy and private equity.

Naomi Edwards, chair of Tasplan, said: “The board would be comfortable to see up to 5 per cent of our fund invested locally in opportunities. There’s some really high growth stories here particularly in terms of food, agriculture and renewable energy and so on. Those are the kind of areas we will be looking at.”

She added after the fund sold its Tasmanian supermarket complex it felt it was underrepresented in the state, and because of this it would look to extend into private equity.

“So what we’ve done is allocate a tranche to this, but we are going to consider opportunities on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

According to Edwards the fund has advantages. Firstly, there has been under-investment in Tasmania. Secondly, it is working alongside a partner fund which has “excellent” local knowledge. Thirdly, a partnership with an ex-Tasmanian private equity specialist allows it to efficiently complete due diligence.

“There’s quite a few ex-Tasmanians who have come back to Tasmania or who are interested in developing some of the story down here, particularly in agriculture.

“You’ve probably heard about the Tasmanian organic baby food company that has just been rocketing on the stock market. There seems to be a very strong demand right now from China, pretty much for everything Tasmanian can produce. We think being on the ground and having really strong partnerships with private equity specialist gives us a strategic advantage in that space.”

Tasplan completed its merger with Quadrant on December 1, bringing funds under management to $3.3 billion.

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