Macquarie’s Viridis Ag, Primewest lead strong run of rural deals

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Commercial Real Estate | 3 May 2020

Macquarie’s Viridis Ag, Primewest lead strong run of rural deals

by LARRY SCHLESINGER
 
Macquarie-backed Viridis Ag has bulked up its national broadacre cropping portfolio, buying a 356-hectare property in central western NSW’s Belubula Valley, amid a steady stream of blue-chip farming deals.
 
Property records show Virids Ag paid $5.85 million for Leneva, a mixed-farming property in the Canowindra region west of Orange, offered for sale by retired Melbourne-based businessman John Wheeler.
 
Leneva included a five-bedroom homestead built in 1906. Almost 100 hectares has been developed for irrigation backed by a 243-megalitre Belubula River irrigation licence. It was sold by Cowra-based agent James Keady.
 
Viridis Ag’s property portfolio spans over 110,000 hectares with farms in NSW, WA and South Australia. It’s backed by one of Australials largest agricultural fund managers, Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management.
 
Joining the corporate push into farmland, ASX-listed fund manager Primewest made the first acquisition for its Agricultural Trust No 1, paying $4.8 million for Pinegatta in the NSW southern riverine region.
 
The 425-hectare property near Deniliquin is leased to Australia’s largest fruit and vegetable processor, Kagome, and primarily produces carrots and potatoes. The Rennie family had owned it for more than 25 years.
 
Primewest director David Schwartz said the fund manager had plans to acquire a range of agricultural properties in its new trust totalling up to $100 million.
 
“We expect investors will receive a total return on investment of 8 per cent per annum [on Pinegatta], ” Mr Schwartz said.
 
Colliers International’s 2020 Agribusiness Research and Forecast Report forecast rural property values to hold firm amid the coronavirus pandemic due to global food demand, favourable growing conditions and a low Australian dollar.
 
The real estate firm said “sophisticated domestic high-net-worth investors” would be the most active buyer segment this year.
 
In Western Queensland, 60 kilometres south of Blackall, a 26,512-hectare beef and sheep property called Listowel Downs sold for $12.6 million.
 
It was offered for sale by Danish pension fund Pensionskassernes Administration (PKA), which acquired it as part of a $60 million Queensland cattle station purchase in 2014.
 
Colliers International’s Rawdon Briggs andTrenton Hindman handled the sale. Mr Briggs said the buyers were from North Queensland. The property sold bare of livestock.
 
Also selling in Queensland was Oban, a 376-hectare cropping property in Jimbour East offered by Dalby cotton grower Neil McVeigh and Deloraine Ag.
 
It fetched $4.7 million at online auction, exceeding its reserve by $425,000. The agents were Fitzsimmons Real Estate’s Michael Fitzsimmons and Aaron Landgren.
 
Both properties were offered for sale on the SoldOnline platform, run by well known auctioneer David Scholes.
 
Joining the run of deals was Boree, one of the trophy grazing properties in the Walcha district of the NSW Tablelands,
 
It sold for close to $11 million to a buyer relocating from southern NSW, ending 90 years of continuous ownership by the Laurie family, including the late former Wallaby Andrew Laurie.
 
Boree was offered for sale by Col Medway of CBRE agribusiness.
 
Other noteable deals include Mooresprings’, an 1108-hectare mixed livestock property in Bibbenluke in southern NSW, which sold for more than $6 million to local farmer. Colliers International’s Henry Mackinnon and Angus Macleod represented the vendors Terry and Leanne Moreing.
 
Also selling was Carawartha, a 427-hectare cattle and lamb operation in Guyra in the NSW Northern Tablelands, which had been owned by the Fitzroy family since 1927.
 
It sold for $4.3 million via online auction through Andrew Starr of Ray White Guyra.
 
There were four active bidders and 17 bids on the property. The winning bid came from Richard and Prue Post, neighbours wanting to expand their business.
Original source: CRE
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