US fund pays $30m for Qld grain farms

17 Nov, 2014 05:05 AM
Chinese investors are circling a number of beef-producing properties in the Northern Territory

US HEDGE fund Black River Asset Management has spent about $30 million acquiring 7000 hectares of Queensland grain property in an off-market deal.

Black River Asset Management, a subsidiary of Cargill, one of the world's biggest food producers, has bought four grain-producing farms in the Darling Downs farming region between Dalby and Chinchilla.

The four farms are in an area bordered by Warra, Jandowae and Jimbour, about 230 kilometres west of Brisbane and close to end users, the feedlots. The farms produce a summer sorghum crop, harvested in October, which provides feed grains to the beef, dairy, pig and poultry industries, as well as a summer wheat crop with a harvest from March to May.

It is understood that Black River, which operates in Australia as Black River Advisors, will appoint local farm managers to run the properties, while providing its global agricultural management expertise.

Black River Advisors and Cargill declined to comment on the acquisitions.

The purchase provides further evidence of offshore investor appetite for Australian agricultural assets, particularly grain and cattle farmland. The Australian Financial Review understands that Chinese investors are circling a number of beef-producing properties in the Northern Territory.

Black River's Australian agricultural portfolio includes Mackay sugar cane farm Marwood Farm, which it purchased for $10.5 million last year in a joint venture with Mackay Sugar. It also owns 70 per cent of the $186 million unlisted agricultural land and logistics company BFB Group, based in Temora in the NSW Riverina region.

BFB owns the prized Billabong Station, an 1875-hectare cropping and pastoral property in the Eurongilly Valley, east of Wagga Wagga.

Black River is an independently managed subsidiary of Cargill, the biggest privately held company in the US, which in 2014 generated revenues of US$135 billion ($154 billion) and net earnings of US$1.9 billion.

In Australia, Cargill's business operations include grain, oilseeds and cotton origination as well as providing food and feed items for the Japanese and South East Asian markets.

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17/11/2014 11:24:29 AM

And we are worried about the Chinese. At least they are doing it to feed their people.
Bushie Bill
17/11/2014 11:47:25 AM

Hey Jock, where are you?
17/11/2014 12:26:42 PM

No doubt he is out working while you are idly playing with your mouse bushie bill.
Bushie Bill
17/11/2014 1:29:36 PM

My dear suzie, I do not "play" with my mouse. I use it as a productive communication tool. It helps me keep ignorance in RARA to a minimum. That is a valuable service, don't you think?
18/11/2014 8:09:37 AM

Black River is a profit driven company, if they can make a profit in Australian Ag - good luck to them. They are not interested in shipping that gain direct to the US, by passing the Australian market and tax system.
Bushie Bill
18/11/2014 11:28:26 AM

Probably correct Qman, but what do you know that convinces you that any other foreign investor is any different to the Americans?
Bushie Bill
18/11/2014 6:56:15 PM

Is it a case of no Chinese, no Jock?
19/11/2014 9:27:31 AM

Hmmm... The Chinese are on record, and make no secret of the fact that, that is exactly what they want to do.
Bushie Bill
19/11/2014 2:13:04 PM

Could/would you identify an independent reliable source for that information, Qman, please?
20/11/2014 11:58:49 AM

Bushie, see the article a few weeks ago about China wanting to buy enough dairy farms in Victoria to send 100,000 litres a day to China.
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