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Planfarm, Seabourn target A$250m for WA agri fund

The Western Australian Farm Investment Fund will focus on WA grain assets that will be sourced and managed by Planfarm.

Western Australian farm manager Planfarm and Seabourn Capital, a Perth-based investment and venture capital firm, have teamed up to raise A$250 million ($191.8 million; €168.1 million) for a new vehicle that will invest in Western Australia’s agricultural sector, Agri Investor has confirmed.

The Western Australian Farm Investment Fund (WAFIF) will focus on grain assets in the Australian state that will be sourced and operated by Planfarm, which has 40 years of experience managing farm assets, providing expert advisory services and marketing grain.

The fund has a target IRR of 12 percent per annum net of management fees and expenses, while the minimum commitment from investors is set at A$25 million, according to documents seen by Agri Investor. Debt used for working capital and acquisition of plant and equipment is not to exceed 30 percent of the gross asset value of the fund.

“At this stage, we have not identified specific farming assets to acquire,” Planfarm managing director Greg Kirk told Agri Investor in an e-mailed response. “However, the fund will focus on row crops specifically wheat, barley, canola and lupins predominantly for the export market. We anticipate that the fund will also include a sheep enterprise where this makes commercial sense to utilize crop stubbles and provide benefits to the crop rotation,” he added.

According to Kirk, Planfarm and Seabourn, which is providing assistance with capital raising and which owns a stake in Australian Farm Investment Management, the fund manager, are in early-stage discussions with investors. “Response to date has been encouraging,” Kirk said, noting that the fund is designed to appeal to both domestic and international institutional investors.

“We expect to close the fund in the second half of 2017,” Kirk said.