AGRIBUSINESS Emerald Grain has been sold to Sydney investment managers Roc Partners.
Emerald Grain has been owned by Japanese agribusiness Sumitomo Corporation since 2014, which initially bought a 50 per cent share in the business in 2010.
It is involved in grain marketing and exporting, has bulk handling facilities through eastern Australia capable of taking over 1.5 million tonnes and owns the Melbourne Port Terminal, which can export both bulk and containerised grain.
Roc Partners has a significant exposure to agriculture through investments in businesses such as South Coast oyster producers Australian Oyster Coast, Wagyu beef growers Stone Axe, tomato business Flavorite and chicken growers ProTen.
Emerald Grain will mark the investors' first major foray into the grains sector.
David Johnson, Emerald managing director, said his company had developed substantially under Sumitomo's ownership and he looked forward to a new phase for the business with Roc Partners.
He said there would be no major changes to the business under the terms of the sale.
"We are set to retain the same structure, which is important as we are in the middle of a big harvest," Mr Johnson said.
"All our activities with growers, customers and our various service suppliers will be continuing as normal through this very busy time."
He said Roc Partners would bring agribusiness expertise to the table.
"Roc Partners have numerous investments in Australian agriculture and represent an exciting step for Emerald," Mr Johnson said.
"Sumitomo was involved with Emerald for many years, the past six as parent company, working strongly with Emerald as we restructured the business and refined our strategy - a very important period during which we appreciated Sumitomo's support and guidance.
"ROC Partners are entering the grain industry in a year when seasonal conditions are highly favourable in all our operating regions, they recognise the strategic nature of Emerald's assets and are excited by our growth prospects" he said.
The transaction involves all Emerald's business activities in grain trading and supply chain management.
Mr Johnson said the current harvest was progressing well.
"It's an exceptional year and we're seeing some fantastic results at our storages in southern NSW."
"Emerald is already moving grain to export positions," he said.
The sale price was undisclosed.
Sumitomo has previously looked at selling Emerald in the past, commissioning Lazard Australia to conduct a review into the business as far back as 2016 and holding talks with prospective buyers last year before the Roc deal was thrashed out over the past couple of months.