Farmland asset manager Gunn Agri Partners appointed Sean O’Reilly to the role of managing director – a position he takes on alongside co-founders Daniel Hough and Bradley Wheaton.
O’Reilly joins Gunn Agri from Ulupna Pastoral Company, an entity majority-owned by Roc Partners that operates an aggregation of around 50 farms in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales.
O’Reilly had been with Ulupna since late 2021, when Roc Partners acquired its interest in the business from John Nicoletti. LAWD agent Danny Thomas was also an investor in Ulupna and retains an interest.
Prior to that role, O’Reilly was a managing director and head of nature-based solutions at Macquarie Asset Management, where he also served at various times as CEO and a director at cropping platform Lawson Grains prior to its sale to Alberta Investment Management Corporation and New Agriculture.
Gunn Agri Partners’ Wheaton told Agri Investor that O’Reilly’s background in managing natural capital assets aligned with the firm’s investment strategies. “Sean brings an extremely strong capability and background in areas that our business will benefit from,” Wheaton said.
“His track record at establishing platforms and optimizing performance for large institutional investors is compelling, and his previous experience is closely aligned to the strategies we are building out across our three platforms: the Transforming Farming Platform, Wilga Farming and Wollemi Farms.”
The Transforming Farming Platform launched in 2019 and was backed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Kempen SDG Farmland Fund. The Wollemi Farms platform is a separately managed account focused on permanent cropping assets backed by the latter.
The firm also launched Wilga Farming in 2023, a A$200 million platform ($131 million; €120 million) backed with A$150 million from Canadian investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and A$50 million from the CEFC. CDPQ and the CEFC also acquired a stake in Gunn Agri Partners itself at the same time.
Wheaton confirmed to Agri Investor that Wilga Farming has made its first investments following its establishment with a seed asset, which was a 1,200ha property near Delungra in northern NSW known as The Glen, earlier this year.
Wilga has acquired two further assets: Burmah, which was bought from Macquarie’s Paraway Pastoral Company and has been aggregated to The Glen near Inverell, NSW; and the 8,500ha Nortongong aggregation in the central west of NSW which offers “significant scope for land use transformation.”
CDPQ and the CEFC said in a statement at the time of Wilga’s launch that the platform would “fast-track the uptake of low-emissions technologies, carbon sequestration on agricultural land and measures to improve climate adaptability to make farming more resilient.”