Herdade de Rio Frio

Cork giant Amorim buys Herdade de Rio Frio in Alentejo

Portugal’s cork giant Corticeira Amorim now owns 100% of a large agricultural estate – Cold River’s Homestead – at Rio Frio in the Alentejo.

It had owned 50% but bought the share which was held by Parvalorem, a company set up by the Portuguese State to acquire and manage distressed and other assets.

Amorim now owns the entire 3,300 hectare site. The Rio Frio area had been once earmarked as a potential location for Lisbon’s new international airport around 15 years ago. However, the project never took off.

Amorim bought the 50% share for €14.6 million from Parvalorem which took over a portfolio of toxic assets from the Banco Português de Negócios (BPN), after having purchased the other half of the asset which was held by BCP.

Cold River’s Homestead has a head office in Lisbon and holds a number of assets (properties and other assets). The estate itself is mainly forest with a swathe of cork oaks covering around 80% of the total.

The acquisition means that Corticeira Amorim will be able to use the land to plant more cork oaks and install a drop-by-drop watering system which will foster faster growth to 12 years rather than the usual timespan of 25 years before the first cork bark can be removed.

After BPN had failed, all of the bank’s toxic assets were transferred to Parvalorem which has been slowly offloading them ever since, and the Herdade de Rio Frio was one of them. It has 2,600 hectares of cork oak and 130 hectares of vineyards. There are also some rice fields and pasture with cattle. The site also includes the Palácio de Rio Frio which belongs to Novo Banco.

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