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AgCAP completes sale of livestock, cropping portfolio

by Liz Wells, 30 January 2018

AGRICULTURAL investment manager, AgCAP, has completed the sale of its initial Sustainable Agriculture Fund (SAF) portfolio made up of five cropping and livestock aggregations in southeastern Australia.

The Cradle Coast dairy aggregation in northern Tasmania was sold by SAF last month.

In a statement, AgCAP CEO, Martin Newnham, said AgCAP was now looking to invest in dairy.

“We are excited by the opportunities we see in dairy, and with the support of existing AgCAP shareholders, we are currently assessing suitable structures for potential investors, having commenced work on a pipeline of pasture-based dairies in southwest Victoria and Tasmania,” Mr Newnham said.

Two ways for North Star

Institutional and private equity investors have purchased SAF’s three cropping aggregations at North Star and Darlington Point in NSW, and Lake Bolac in Victoria.

The North Star aggregation at 9710 hectares was SAF’s biggest.

It was located in the Golden Triangle region, northeast of Moree, renowned for its ability to produce milling wheat, dryland cotton, barley, chickpeas and sorghum.

Goondiwindi-based private equity company, One Tree Agriculture, purchased Calrossie, Kirewa and Marlow, three of the five non-contiguous properties which made up the North Star parcel.

One Tree CEO, Hugh Ball, has a background in farming in northwest NSW, and owns a stake in the firm, which also holds further interests at Goondiwindi and Jandowae in southern Queensland.

One Tree’s investors included other Australian entities as well as offshore interests, with Proterra managing One Tree’s overseas investor relations.

Proterra launched in 2016 as an investment advisor and private equity fund manager for the Black River Asset Management private equity funds, which spun out from a subsidiary of global agribusiness giant, Cargill Inc.

Cargill remains involved with Proterra funds as a limited partner.

Westchester Agricultural Asset Management purchased the remaining two North Star holdings, Gil Gil and Glenesk, to add to its portfolio of Australian cropping properties.

Westchester is headquartered in the United States, and its major partner is US pension fund, TIAA.

Southern changes

Westchester has expanded its presence in irrigated cotton production with the purchase of Tubbo and Huddersfield, SAF’s two Darlington Point properties which cover 4926ha near the Murrumbidgee River in southern NSW.

Proterra’s subsidiary, Corinella Farms, bought the 1445ha Lake Bolac dryland cropping aggregation in western Victoria, a reliable area for producing wheat, barley and canola.

SAF’s 6786-hectare beef cattle operation on King Island sold to Tim Roberts-Thomson’s TRT Pastoral for $45 million, as reported on Beef Central in November.

A New Zealand investment manager has purchased SAF’s 1145ha dairy operation on Tasmania’s Cradle Coast for more than $20m.

AgCAP said the sale of the SAF portfolio grossed more than $180 million, and the fund registered three-year returns of 9 per cent per annum after fees and tax.

 

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