Chris Corrigan.

Chris Corrigan.

Best known for busting up the clubby world of stockbroking and then taking on the wharfies, one of the country's richest businessmen, Chris Corrigan, is stepping up his exposure to the agricultural sector, emerging as a key financier of the offshore push by the largest local olive oil group, Boundary Bend.

Boundary Bend is finalising a raising of up to an estimated $10 million, with Corrigan believed to be stumping up about half the total.

Mr Corrigan has established an extensive spread of investments in the agricultural sector over the past several years.

These are known to include a 17.7 per cent stake in the Tasmanian-based walnut and onions group Websters and about 5 per cent of Australian Agricultural Co via Kaplan Equity, as well a direct interest in the cotton growing sector.

Boundary Bend has emerged as one of the country's largest olive oil growers and processors over the past decade, retailing under the Cobram Estate and Red Island brands.

After taking on the European giants to carve out a viable presence in the local market, it now has set its sights abroad and is raising funds to expand into the US.

It is planning to set up a testing laboratory and processing facility there, which may include establishing a small olive grove as it sizes up how to tackle a market which, while significantly larger than Australia, has only modest domestic production.

Along with the potential market size, one of the attractions of the US is that it is ''counter-seasonal'' to the Australian crop, which could help to smooth revenues and cashflow over time.

Although US olive oil consumption has risen eightfold over the past 20 years or so, local production accounts for less than 5 per cent.

''We believe we can replicate, in the US, the success of our Australian integrated business,'' Boundary Bend's executive chairman Rob McGavin told shareholders in a recent letter.

''Initially we will be investing in a centrally located commercial site and commissioning an olive oil testing laboratory and processing facility with bulk storage.''

This will be followed by the purchase of land for initial in-house olive production.

Boundary Bend already does some testing for US groups, which will provide it with an initial client base to build on.

The company would not discuss details of the financing underway until the raising is completed.

After a pre-tax trading profit of $28.7 million in the year to last June, Boundary Bend has forecast a $14.6 million profit this financial year, due to the anticipated lower crop, but recovering to last year's level next financial year.

The 2013 harvest produced 13.58 million litres of oil, with the expected 2014 drop due partly to the intense heat in the Riverina in late summer.