Article by Adrian Rauso courtesy of The West Australian.
Gina swoops to claim major stake in Bunbury gem.
Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has taken a majority stake in the Bunbury Farmers Market, heralding a new era for the South West business.
The West Australian can reveal that Hancock Prospecting, Mrs Rinehart’s key investment vehicle, has reached a deal with the market’s current owners — Kevin Opferkuch and Graham Heath — but the exact terms were not disclosed.
In a statement, Hancock said the investment would help to accelerate plans to grow the much-loved market, including the development of the recently announced Vasse Village Bunbury Farmers Market, which is set to open in late 2024. “Additional future sites, including Perth locations, will also allow new customers to enjoy the unique BFM experience,” Hancock said.
The market purchase aligns with an expanding food and beverage empire in WA under the Hancock banner, which includes 2GR Wagyu Beef, S. Kidman & Co boxed beef and pies, and Bannister Downs Dairy at Northcliffe.
Mrs Rinehart said the investment would support the growth and expansion of the successful WA business and extend the benefits of further fresh produce to consumers and farmers.
“Like most West Australians who travel to the South West, many of us at (Hancock) are happy to be customers of Bunbury Farmers Market,” she said.
“We are pleased to make this investment to support the growth and expansion of this iconic and successful WA business.”
In a joint statement, Mr Opferkuch and Mr Heath said that after 20 years of owning and running the market, they were excited to welcome Mrs Rinehart, left, as a partner.
“Hancock is a pioneering WA business, and with their long history in agriculture and commitment to quality produce, they share our vision for our WA company.”
The market was established in June 2003 and proudly claims on its website that 90 per cent of the fresh fruit and vegetables in store is still in the ground just two days before it goes on sale.