Monday, December 5, 2011

U.K. Group Plans $400 Million Australian Farmland Fund

From The Land (Australia):
British combing for cotton
UK-based investors are planning a $400 million rural land fund to buy cotton and wheat properties in eastern Australia.

The fund known as Southern Agricultural Resources whose non executive director is Derek Shaw –a board member of the AIM listed MP Evans Limited and the North Australian Pastoral Company – has identified 24 properties to be purchased covering over 100,000 hectares in NSW and Queensland.

The proposed fund, for which an executive summary has been quietly shuffled around investment circles in the UK and US, builds on a growing number of funds seeking to raise money for rural land in Australia, The Australian Financial Review reports.

There is at least $4 billion being sought from such funds with well over $1 billion already deployed in purchases over the last three years.

Farming conditions in Australia have rapidly improved with good rains and historically high commodity prices, though high debts and political concerns over water cuts have made investment in the sector slow going.

MP Evans trades London-AIM (MPE.L), 400 pence last.