Lochinver Station sells to New Zealand buyer
One of New Zealand’s largest farms, Lochinver Station in the central North Island, will remain in New Zealand ownership following its sale for an undisclosed sum to privately owned New Zealand farming group Rimanui Farms Ltd.
It will take over the ownership of the 13,843 hectare sheep and beef station, upon settlement of the sale in March next year, from one of New Zealand’s largest private companies, Stevenson Group Limited, which has owned it for more than half a century.
Bayleys Real Estate recommenced marketing the property last month after the Government announced it had turned down an Overseas Investment Office application from Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin’s subsidiary Pure 100 to buy the property.
“Since the original sales contract was signed over 14 months ago, prices for top quality sheep and beef farms have risen significantly, primarily on the back of a very strong beef sector,” Bayleys Real Estate managing director Mike Bayley said.
“The Stevenson Group has also undertaken approximately $3.5 million worth of further capital improvements to the station. A combination of these factors meant that we have been able to attract New Zealand interest in the property at a higher value than was the case early last year when we first marketed the station.”
The property, which has a Capital Valuation for rating purposes of $70.6 million, is a sheep and beef breeding and finishing and dairy support farm located on the Rangitaiki Plains, 32km from Taupo and 92km from Napier, with a carrying capacity in excess of 100,000 stock units.
The station also has three airstrips, 22 houses which accommodate the families of 20 permanent staff, a staff recreation centre, 91 kilometres of pumice roads, six cattle yards, three woolsheds plus multiple other farm buildings, a lake, and a recreational hunting block.
Stevenson Group chief executive Mark Franklin said proceeds from the sale of Lochinver Station will be reinvested in the company’s core businesses of mining, quarrying, concrete and associated investments around these industries, including the development of a major new industrial subdivision around its large quarrying operations in Drury, South Auckland.
Mr Franklin estimates the staged development of over 300 hectares of land at Drury will take 15 years and is expected to create more than 8000 jobs.
Lochinver Station was purchased in 1958 by the late Sir William Stevenson, founder of Stevenson Group, after prompting from his son, the late Ross Stevenson, who had observed the property during his hunting expeditions in the area.
Ross embarked on a massive development programme to turn what was mostly scrub land located at an altitude of 670 to 900 metres into one of New Zealand’s most productive farms.
Pete Stratton, from Bayleys Taihape office who was also involved in the sale to Rimanui Farms along with Bayleys corporate rural sales consultant David Gubb, says Lochinver is widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s trophy stations.
“It has been meticulously developed and superbly maintained and managed under Stevensons’ ownership. Among the station’s drawcards are its predominantly easy contour and its very good spring and reliable summer and autumn growing conditions, well illustrated during dry spells in other parts of the North Island in recent years when it has provided grazing support for drought affected farmers,” he said.
Mr Stratton says Rimanui Farms, formed in the 1980s, is a very experienced and successful pastoral farming group with other large scale farming operations including Erewhon Station also located in the central North Island.
“The company’s focus is solely on sheep, beef, and forestry, conservatively farmed for long-term productivity and growth. It has significant long-term experience in managing properties of Lochinver’s size and scale.”