The Camm family say it will be ‘business as usual’ for the Camm Agricultural Group following the sale of their three Charters Towers beef properties for $72.5 million this week.
The Australian owned Rural Funds Group paid $53 million for the Natal portfolio of properties (Natal Downs, Longton and Narellan) spanning 390,600ha.
The trust will provide CAG with a further $15 million in cattle and mortgage financing, $2.5 million to invest in farm improvements as well as a $2 million performance fee if certain "development points" are achieved by the end of next year. In return, Camm will lease the properties for 10 years from the trust.
Camm Agricultural Group is headed by David Camm who lost his wife Judy, aged 70, in May this year.
Mr Camm told Queensland Country Life that negotiations on the sale started well before his wife passed away.
“I feel that Judy and I have been paid for the hard work we put into improving Natal Downs and to me that is a good outcome,” he said.
“It has been a long process and we had a number of interested parties but in terms of finding the right partner and right counterpart to work with, RFG ticked all the boxes. They are Australia’s most successful real estate investment trust and we are excited to be joining with them.”
The Camm family still retain ownership of all stock and plant along with the family’s three Central Queensland beef breeding and backgrounding properties, a breeder block in the South Burnett and a farming property between Surat and St George.
CAG also own and run the 9000-head Wonga Plains Feedlot at Bowenville under the management of Judy and David’s son, Bryce.
CAG has applied to expand their Wonga Plains licence to 21,000 head but Bryce said that was not related to the sale of the Charters Towers properties.
“That is really no surprise – there are a number of feedlots looking to expand at the moment,” he said.
“We are looking to build Wonga into a state-of-the-art facility and some of that efficiency comes through scale.
“No doubt a lot of families have to go through an inter-generational transfer of beef assets and we think this is the right deal for our family.”
Rural Funds managing director David Bryant flagged the acquisition of a "Queensland cattle property" as part of its 2017 full-year results, where the country's largest diversified agribusiness trust reported a 78 per cent rise in adjusted earnings.
“We feel there is a comparative advantage in cattle production [in Australia] … with increasing demand coming from the middle classes of Asia," Mr Bryant told Fairfax Media.
"This acquisition also increases the climatic diversification of the fund and has a lot of development potential.”
The deal – one of the largest yet negotiated by Rural Funds Group – grows that value of its diversified portfolio to $660 million, including six cattle properties worth $101 million that will make up 16 per cent of the portfolio.