Thursday, September 21, 2023

Acton family offloads Croydon Station in mega $80m deal

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One of the sunshine state’s largest agribusiness properties, Croydon Station, spanning nearly 60,000 hectares, has been sold for a speculated figure of around $80 million in the sector’s latest blockbuster deal.

Croydon Station
Croydon Station. Photo: Australian Property Journal

Redrock Trading Co. bought the Central Queensland property from the Acton family, which had owned the property since 1988 through the Acton Land and Cattle business that was established by the late high-profile industry identity Graeme Acton and his brother Evan.

Croydon Station spans 59,669 hectares at 13769 Marlborough-Sarina Road in Lotus Creek, about 210 kilometres north of Rockhampton and 180 kilometres south of Mackay,

It was sold by Pat O’Driscoll and Tom Acton of Knight Frank Agribusiness in conjunction with Richard Brosnan of Ray White Rural Rockhampton following a formal tender process.

“We fielded around 40 enquiries from buyers, which resulted in 10 inspections and seven tenders, which is very significant in this price bracket,” O’Driscoll said.

“Interest came from both investors and owner-occupiers, including many Queensland generational grazing families.

“The buyer is part of the latter group, with the vendor very happy to see the property sell to another family who can enjoy the land, as well as running a productive business.

“We are seeing very strong interest in agribusiness properties throughout Australia and high demand combined with tight supply is putting upward pressure on prices.

“With interest rates being low and retail prices high, primary producers are seeing a much healthier profit margin, which is why demand is so high.”

Croydon Station
Croydon Station. Photo: Australian Property Journal

Rural land values have increased by an average of 12.9% annually since late 2019, with many properties being bought by local farm businesses who have benefitted from these windfalls, in place of foreign or corporate investors. Local commodities prices have continued to show gains, and the beef market can expect further record prices, according to Rabobank, as confident farmers across the country enjoy strong seasonal conditions.

New York-based investment firm The Rohatyn Group is hoping for more than $55 million from the sale of the Kaiuroo Aggregation in Central Queensland, one of multiple vendors who have put their asset to the market in the hopes of capitalising on the strong market.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is shopping around a $300 portfolio of cattle stations and livestock spanning 1.876 million hectares in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, while retail real estate player Brett Blundy has offered a pair of Northern Territory stations with expectations of around $230 million.

O’Driscoll said he believed the property was one of the top three biggest agribusiness properties to be sold in Queensland in the past two years.

The 438,000-hectare Miranda Downs in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria has just set a new price record of more than $180 million for a single pastoral holding, tens of millions of dollars above initial expectations, while Michael Hintze has been identified as the buyer of the 12,168-hectare cropping and grazing property South Callandoon, on the New South Wales border, for about $100 million.

Across the country, rural property records are getting smashed, recently Australian Property Journal exclusively reported that Tasmania saw its biggest rural sale in living memory, with sixth-generation cattle and sheep farmer and wind farm developer Peter Downie buying Stonehouse Grazing in Lemont for $46 million.

Brosnan said it was very rare for a property of the quality and size of Croydon Station to be offered for sale generally, let alone in the Central Queensland area close to regional amenities.

“The diversity of the property attracted strong interest from potential buyers, as it provided good productivity capacity and opportunity close to markets.”

The western area of Croydon Station features a balance of developed scrub with improved pastures introduced enhancing the growing and finishing country being about 27,300 hectares principally scrub country running onto the eastern bank of the Connors River.

The area to the east of the Marlborough Sarina Road, about 32,369 hectares, comprises predominately good forest country with patches of scrub influence.

Croydon Station also has a substantial homestead complex relative to the size of the property and carrying capacity including the homestead, managers residence, guest accommodation, two houses for employees and the workers quarters.

Other infrastructure includes garage/workshop, storeroom, machinery shed, hay shed, stables and numerous other buildings.


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