Prized Commins Portfolio sells to institutional investor

Linda Rowley, June 6, 2024

The Commins Portfolio. Photo: LAWD

A PRIVATE investor with existing assets in the Riverina has paid around $88 million for an institutional-grade irrigated operation underpinned by substantial water entitlements in southern New South Wales.

The Commins Portfolio is located on the northern side of the Murrumbidgee River, 3km south of Whitton and 17km east of Darlington Point.

It spans 2807ha across four non-contiguous hubs within an 18km radius, and consists of the 1097ha Karwar, 1253ha Whitton Hub, 183ha The Weir and 274ha Nardoo.

While cotton is its most lucrative crop, the properties also grow corn, wheat, barley, and seed canola in rotation, with the productive soil types also suited to permanent plantings.

Described as first-class, the irrigation development on the Commins Portfolio includes 2244ha of laser-levelled bankless channels, supported by 1860ML of combined on-farm water storage.

The 14,112ML of water entitlements comprise 9700ML of surface water and 4412ML of groundwater, which underpin the operation.

Infrastructure includes numerous residences, significant shedding, a silo complex and more than 4200 tonnes of grain storage.

The sale was handled by LAWD agents Danny Thomas and Erica Semmens.

Mr Thomas said despite uncertainty over interest-rate movements and commodity prices, high-quality properties will transact in the current market and achieve the asking price.

“The exceptionally well-presented ‘A-grade’ opportunity attracted strong interest from multiple corporate and institutional groups due to its scale, land-class development and water security within a highly productive region,” Mr Thomas said.

The Commins Portfolio was offered by Whitton-based brothers Tim and Roger Commins who helped established the cotton industry in the Murrumbidgee Valley and develop the independently owned Southern Cotton gin nearby in 2011.

Together with their wives Leeann and Annette, they formed Commins Enterprises after purchasing their first property in 1989.

Up until four years ago, they progressively added a further nine irrigation holdings to the aggregation.

When the portfolio was listed for sale in February, Roger Commins told Grain Central that after a very successful family partnership, it was time to scale back and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

“After a corporate approached us, we started thinking about selling the farming business.

“We believe now is the right time to slow down and have a life after large scale intensive irrigated farming.”

“The sale will give us time to focus on the many existing and successful business ventures we maintain in the surrounding region.”

Following this week’s transaction, Mr Commins said the family was thrilled with the result and that the incoming purchaser was taking on the current staff and buying the machinery, ensuring a smooth transition.

Roger and Tim are directors in Southern Cotton, and are jointly 40 percent shareholders in the facility which owns the recently built Whitton Malt House, a dining, event and accommodation venue.

The brothers supply barley to Voyager Craft Malt and also hold a 40pc stake in the state-of-the-art craft-malting facility that produces small-batch artisanal malts from locally grown and regionally sourced grains.


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