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Equity partnership sought for large-scale farm ownership

Equity partnership sought for large-scale farm ownership

One of the oldest and most historic farms in the North Island is being marketed for sale – with a private equity partnership being marketed as an option for investors. A maximum of $6million of equity is on offer.

The 1179 hectare Gwavas Station, which is currently a sheep breeding and intensive bull beef finishing farm in Central Hawke’s Bay, is capable of wintering approximately 13,500 stock units. The farm has been owned by the Hudson family and direct descendants since 1856.

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Caption: The ‘new age’ of rural real estate ownership in New Zealand – Gwavas Station in the Hawke’s Bay is being marketed for sale to a group of equity shareholders.

The equity partnership sell-down of the station aims to attract shareholdings of between $500,000 and $6million – depending on the number of investors. Farm owners John and Fiona Hudson intend to retain a minimum 30 percent stake in the business, but may consider other options.

The property has been developed as an intensive pastoral farm, and is currently subdivided into some 100 main paddocks with an average size of seven hectares, including approximately 300 hectares utilising an intensive grazing system. Cash and fodder cropping activity is also undertaken on the farm.

The Gwavas equity partnership is being marketed nationally through Bayleys Real Estate in conjunction with GoodmanRural and AgPlus. Bayleys Hawke’s Bay director Glynn Rees-Jones said the $500,000 proportional price tag allowed entry into commercial farming at a level lower than full property ownership, while making provision for high-level investment.

Mr Rees-Jones said the private offering had been put together under strict adherence to the Securities Act, and suited passive investors with an interest in the long-term future of New Zealand’s primary produce sector.

“Opportunities to purchase passive investments in agribusiness – particularly rural land of this type - are scarce, and Gwavas represents true quality,” Mr Rees-Jones said.

“Under the equity partnership proposed, existing owner John Hudson will continue to manage the property as farm manager and maintain a shareholding, as well as retaining the two existing fulltime staff who have individual enterprise management responsibilities in their respective areas,” he said.

The Gwavas farm occupies 1001 hectares, while an adjacent 178 hectares is leased by the business under a long-term agreement – providing approximately 1100 hectares of effective farming land.

Key buildings on the farm include a large homestead dating back to the mid-1800s, along with two other three-bedroom staff homes, a five stand woolshed, three sheep yards and three additional sets of cattle yards.

“The property – due to its contour and soils – is generally free-draining. A considerable number of shelter belts were planted in the 1980s and 1990s to increase shelter for stock and pastures. Gwavas Station has also invested in well-drilling, and there are applications for water consents which will allow multiple land-use options to be considered id secured,” Mr Rees-Jones said.

A confidential information memorandum on the farm’s operations and investment are available from the offices of Bayleys, AgPlus or GoodmanRural – with applications closing on December 15.

Mr Rees-Jones said that while the owner’s preference was to sell the property to an equity partnership, an outright sale to individual buyers outside the equity partnership would be considered.


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