A pending sale of Ceres Agricultural Company assets is on track to be the biggest walk-in/walk-out transaction in NSW agricultural history.
The vertically integrated cropping and beef company has northern NSW holdings of 26,000 hectares and its selling agents say it could go for as much as $200 million.
“Our mandate is to sell all of the company’s northern assets and there’s been a very exhaustive list of potential buyers and investors we have put it to,” said Richard Royle, of agency, CBRE, Sydney.
“Now it’s a matter of putting it out there to make sure we haven’t missed anybody as we are in the final stages of reviewing all expressions.”
The open listing follows an extended “off-market” campaign period, however, Mr Royle said a full and transparent campaign is now on and 27 inspections had been received “on and off market”.
“We made sure of covering the 30 day transparency required to allow Australian interests (an opportunity), however, 70 per cent of prospective buyers require Foreign Investment Review Board approval.”
Owned by Pegela Pastoral Company Pty Ltd, Oberon, Ceres’ northern holding includes the Gunyerwarildi feedlot at Warialda, which along with the company’s grass-fed production, turns off some 100,000 head of Meat Standard Australia graded beef for the domestic and international markets each year and also provides some custom lot feeding services.
Mr Royle said the company had also set up a new certified free range grain- and grass-fed brand.
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“Then there is the cropping assets at Moree on 16,000ha, producing approximately 40,000 tonnes of cereal, pulse and sorghum,” he said.
“There’s also about 1000 megalitres of underground water licence and 70ha of irrigation, mainly for lucerne and oats production.
“The company runs its own logistics of 20 prime-movers and associated trailers and crates to handle livestock and grain transport, plus all cropping machinery, all in the deal. So it’s a huge operation and something like this is very, very rare, so there are not many buyers who can take it on.”