Corticeira Amorim, the world’s biggest cork processing group, has announced the acquisition of 1,855 hectares of land in Portugal.
The company makes more than 5.5 billion cork stoppers per year—but it also invests 10 million euros a year in R&D to find new ways to use the material. Amorim’s subsidiary, Amorim Sports, is the biggest supplier of cork infill material used in third generation synthetic turf fields. In this article, R&D director Eduardo Soares, explained the latest developments regarding the product. Holding company Corticeira Amorim acquired the land through its subsidiary Cold River’s Homestead SA. According to information shared with the Portuguese stock exchange, the company paid the previous owner Novo Banco, a total amount of €22.3 million.
The latest addition is located in the Herdade de Rio Frio region and are adjacent to properties already owned by Cold River’s Homestead SA.
Intensification in cork oak forest
With this acquisition, Corticeira Amorim intends to improve the productivity of the agroforestry activity in the Herdade de Rio Frio, by implementing intensification in this cork oak forest. “Maintaining Montado and ecosystem services is one of the strategic goals of Corticeira Amorim, which intends to continue its active participation in intervening in new areas of cork oak through land purchases, leases or partnerships,” the company explains in a statement. Amorim can do with additional cork trees as the demand of its products has increased significantly. Apart from infill, the company also produces a shockpad made of the same material. It takes 25 years before the oak can be harvested from the tree. An oak tree can be stripped more than 15 times over the course of its 200-year life span.
Developing applied research
In these new lands, the company intends to develop applied research on the effects of irrigation, fertilization, nutrition and soils on cork oaks and to help promote the implementation of new technologies for cultivation and management of the cork oak forest. It must be remembered that Herdade de Rio Frio, in the municipality of Palmilla, was one of the most important plantations in the country, with the largest continuous vineyard in the world. As agriculture lost its momentum in the national territory, this region failed to renew itself.