PSP-Warakirri JV buys goFARM’s Yarrabee Park

Daybreak Cropping has bought Yarrabee Park for a sum understood to have exceeded expectations, which was A$60m when the asset was listed for sale in 2021.

Asset manager goFARM has sold Yarrabee Park, an 11,260-hectare dryland and irrigated cropping asset in the southern Riverina region of New South Wales, to Daybreak Cropping, a joint venture between Canadian pension PSP Investments and Australian fund manager Warakirri Asset Management.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed and goFARM declined to comment on the sale price. Agri Investor understands the sale price significantly exceeded expectations, though, which market sources indicated in 2021 was in the region of A$60 million ($43.6 million; €39.9 million).

Yarrabee Park’s sale listing said the asset produced approximately 37,500 tons of grain and fodder in 2020, with a proposal in place for a large-scale 900MW solar farm covering 2,600ha, which is forecast to generate A$3 million per annum for 30 years.

Commenting on the sale, Liam Lenaghan, managing director of goFARM, said in a statement: “Yarrabee Park is a very special asset, and over the past eight years we have improved it further with a focus on three strategic pillars: sustainability, profitability and operational efficiency. This has translated into exceptional and sustainable profitability.

“To us it was critical that any purchaser could demonstrate a track record of developing people, delivering a safe work environment, ensuring strong land stewardship and engagement with the local community. As such, we recognize that Yarrabee Park and its team will continue to be in great hands with Daybreak Cropping.”

goFARM also recently listed Sandmount Farms for sale, a “shovel-ready” horticultural asset in Victoria covering 6,500ha that is expected to fetch north of A$250 million.

Daybreak Cropping was formed in 2016, managed by Warakirri and backed by funds from PSP Investments. It owns a portfolio of seven other properties: three in Western Australia, two in New South Wales and one each in Queensland and Victoria.

Its most recent acquisition was Erregulla Plains in WA for approximately A$97 million in early 2020, then the most valuable single-farm transaction in that state’s history.

Beyond broadacre cropping, PSP Investments has committed to a range of other sectors within Australian agriculture, including horticulture in the Murray-Darling Basin, cotton, water investments and dairy.

Its recent deals include: an investment in cotton giant Auscott for a sum in the region of A$500 million in May 2021; acquiring 89,075ML of permanent water rights and 12,000ha of almond orchards from Singapore-based Olam International, for a total consideration of A$490 million in December 2019; agreeing to take ASX-listed agribusiness Webster private in a deal that valued the firm at A$724 million in October 2019; and purchasing a majority stake in NSW cropping enterprise BFB from Proterra Investment Partners in January 2019.