Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Roc goes with the flow of Murray River

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Sydney-based private equity firm Roc Partners has bought a majority stake in the Murray River Land business, giving it control of more than 60 farms either side of the river.

Murray River

Mostly former dairy farms, the northern Victoria and southern New South Wales properties span a combined 10,000 hectares between Numurkah and Tocumwal.

Roc has bought a majority stake in the Ulupna Pastoral Company that manages the Murray River Land assets. Both companies were founded by Western Australian agribusiness identity John Nicoletti and former CBRE Agribusiness agent Danny Thomas.

Thomas will remain a minority shareholder in both.

Roc will invest in using modern portfolio into highly efficient irrigated land, using the latest water-use technology to maximise productivity, and repurpose former dairy infrastructure to facilitate custom feeding for clients seeking to background and finish beef cattle and prime lambs.

For Roc, the deal represents the first for a $150 million first-close fund that has been supported by domestic superannuation clients.

Roc had recently come second to Macquarie in the months-long battle for control of Costa Group orchards landlord Vitalharvest Freehold Trust.

Other portfolio offerings put up for sale this year include US private equity firm Proterra Investment Partners offering the 49 farms that make up the Corinella Group of properties, spanning 22,500 hectares in Victoria and South Australia with expectations of $350 million, while Chinese group Shenhua Watermark Coal is shopping around 16,570 hectares of controversial Liverpool Plains landholdings, hoping for about $120 million.

Nicoletti will pursue acquisitions of grain growing properties in Western Australia. He recently sold his Ag Implements farm machinery dealerships network to AFGRI, with AFGRI renting the premises from Nicoletti.

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