Primewest raises agriculture fundraising target following share placement

Primewest will use part of the A$60m raised in an institutional placement to make a cornerstone investment in its first agriculture fund.

ASX-listed Primewest has raised the fundraising target on its inaugural agriculture fund to A$350 million ($268 million; €221 million) after completing a A$60 million share placement.

The real estate fund manager first moved into agriculture last year with the acquisition of goFARM Asset Management, which granted it the management rights to the ASX-listed Vitalharvest Freehold Trust. It also acquired a stake in Vitalharvest at the same time.

Primewest subsequently acquired the 425-hectare Pinegatta property in New South Wales for A$4.2 million and the 385-hectare Lamattina property on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for A$42 million. The acquisitions were made via the Primewest Agricultural Trust No 1, also known as the Primewest Agricultural Fund, an open-ended unlisted property trust that had a fundraising target of A$100 million.

That target has now been raised to A$350 million following the institutional placement through which Primewest raised A$60 million, which is more than its initial A$55 million goal.

Of the capital raised, A$40 million will be used to make cornerstone investments in PAF and the Primewest Property Income Fund, a traditional diversified property fund that the firm also recently launched. The firm did not disclose how the capital would be split between the two funds.

Primewest also said that it would now explore the potential of listing Primewest Agricultural Trust No 1, with no timeframe given for when that might occur.

In a statement prior to the placement, Primewest managing director David Schwartz said: “Since launching Primewest Agricultural Fund in 2020, we have sought to expand this fund through high-quality acquisitions. We are now in discussions with a number of vendors in a wider range of agricultural classes including almonds, tomatoes and vineyards.

“PAF will seek to acquire these assets in the coming months should they satisfy our due diligence protocols. We are confident that these funds [PAF and PPIF] will be attractive to our existing investors and will also provide an opportunity to attract a broader investor universe over time.”

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets made a bid to acquire 100 percent of the Primewest-managed Vitalharvest Freehold Trust in November 2020, which another shareholder last month criticized as neither fair nor reasonable. Primewest, as Vitalharvet’s largest unitholder, had indicated that it was set to vote in favor of MIRA’s takeover last year.