Australia: AAM’s Sunshine Farms Aggregation in new hands

Grain Central | 26 March 2024

AAM’s Sunshine Farms Aggregation in new hands

AAM Investment Group has sold its 14,074ha Sunshine Farms Aggregation in the Lachlan Valley of New South Wales for an undisclosed sum.

A statement from AAM released today said settlement took place yesterday, but did not reveal the buyer, which is believed to be Nuveen.

Already a large-scale owner of agricultural land leased mostly to local operators, Nuveen invests funds on behalf of the US Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) and others.

AAM listed the Sunshine Farms Aggregation in August last year, with price expectations said to be more than $90 million.

Sunshine and Round Cowal are located on the western side of the Newell Highway south of Forbes.

They were bought in January 2020 by AAM, which subsequently added Bergen Park, Warili, and Glencoe to the aggregation.

In today’s statement, AAM said SFA was the first strategic land and development acquisition of the AAM Diversified Agriculture Fund, which has undertaken an extensive program of capital works to improve the asset over the past four years.

AAM managing director Garry Edwards said the aggregation was purchased by a long-term investor in Australian farmland who would continue to operate the property with most of the existing staff staying on to continue their journey with these assets.

“The new owners manage many large-scale agricultural assets, and we are confident they will continue to build on the legacy AAM has created in the region,” Mr Edwards said.

“We have been fortunate to have a great team of people on the ground managing the Sunshine Farms properties.

“They will be central to the ongoing operations of the assets and have been instrumental in delivering the successful transition of ownership.”

With significant access to water through the Jemalong Irrigation Scheme, Mr Edwards said AAM had implemented an extensive irrigation-development program over the past four years that incorporated over 2100ha of laser-levelled flood irrigation.

“We are extremely proud of the significant improvements the AAM team has undertaken to enhance the infrastructure and land use of the aggregation, which will continue to create operational efficiencies for the new owners.

“Our core philosophy is to acquire, develop and operate assets across a diversity of supply chains and geographic locations around Australia, and create a sustainable legacy in the regional communities in which we invest.

“When divesting, we take great pride in passing an asset over in better shape than we acquired it, to a like-minded buyer with an aligned commitment to regional Australia.

“The Sunshine Farms portfolio is a clear manifestation of this philosophy and the positive impacts that the AAM business has in regional communities.”

The sale of Sunshine Farms will support AAM’s continued growth and further investment in diverse agricultural assets in regional and rural Australia.

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