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Norman Farming could sell for more than A$150m

One of Australia’s largest irrigated and dryland cropping operations has attracted interest from domestic and international investors.

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One of Australia’s largest irrigated and dryland cropping operations has attracted interest from domestic and international investors.

Covering more than 18,000 hectares in the Border Rivers region, between the states of Queensland and New South Wales, Norman Farming has just been listed for sale.

“It’s not just institutional scale, it’s an institutional-grade property as well,” CBRE regional director Danny Thomas told Agri Investor on Wednesday, who with colleague Duncan McCulloch has been appointed to oversee the transaction.

Current owners Aileen and Arthur Norman bought Kalanga in 1981, and the farm’s operations have since been expanded through acquisitions.

Asked what the level of interest has been so far, Thomas said: “Very strong. We haven’t even commenced our [international expression of interest] campaign yet and we already have a dozen inquiries,” from local and international institutional and corporate investors. “But every one of them is already invested in Australia.”

If sold on a walk in/walk out basis, inclusive of land, structures, water licenses, plant and equipment and planted crops, Norman Farming could generate more than A$150 million ($120.5 million; €100.6 million), according to Thomas.

The property comprises two aggregations – Kalanga and Mobandilla – run as a single enterprise. Of the 18,028 hectares, around 5,000 have highly developed flood irrigation, while the remainder comprises dryland cultivation, water storages and grazing land.

“For those who have an appetite to do some further development and increase production, there’s a large land base available for them to do so by bringing more of the dryland into irrigation,” Thomas said.

Norman Farming also has water entitlements with a maximum volumetric limit of 71,170 megaliters, operational infrastructure and technological add-ons that enhance on-farm efficiencies, according to CBRE. It also has productive soil types that have consistently yielded 12 bales of cotton per hectare.

“The quality of the development is very good, the standard of management has been very high and so for an institutional investor that wants to come in and step into the shoes of an asset that’s operating at a high standard already, it’s very good for them to do that,” Thomas said.