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Macquarie to relocate Paraway Pastoral to Orange – exclusive

The Australian bank's Pastoral Fund management team is set to relocate to Orange from Sydney to be closer to its assets and as part of an expansion in its operations. The fund posted profits for the first time since 2011 earlier this month.

Macquarie is set to relocate its agriculture investment arm Paraway Pastoral Company to the city of Orange, some three and a half hours outside of Sydney, to be closer to its farm properties.

The team, which is led by Jock Whittle, Paraway’s chief executive, is also likely to employ further staff to work out of the new office in Orange, a source close to the matter told Agri Investor.

Currently headquartered in Sydney, the business has reached a point where it needs to be closer to its assets, the source said, and the move coincides with a more general build out of the business’s operations side recently.

Paraway Pastoral posted positive financial results earlier this month, delivering a A$23 million ($18 million; €17 million) profit for 2014 in its first profit since 2011. Stronger cattle prices and increasing land and water values were responsible for the turnaround that has encouraged investors in the bank’s A$700 million Pastoral Fund, such as Dutch pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds, to confirm their support of the fund, according to the results statement.

Investor support of the fund came into question last year in the wake of years of losses and after ex-head of agricultural funds management Tim Hornibrook resigned when Australian Financial Review revealed his team had used a fake family office email address to get information from competitors. The fund’s investors are expected to vote on Macquarie’s retention as fund manager at an annual meeting in July, but local commentators, including AFR‘s Matthew Cranston, believe a fund management takeover play is now much less likely.