16 Crafar Farms put up for sale on open market as Chinese deal stalls

16 Crafar Farms put up for sale on open market as Chinese deal stalls
Receiver Korda Mentha has placed 16 farms in the Crafar Farms group onto the open market for sale through Bayleys as negotiations with May Wang's Natural Dairy drag on without resolution. The receivership sale is the single largest receivership sale of farms in New Zealand history, Bayley's said. The farms are reputed to be worth more than NZ$100 million, although a slump in dairy farm prices in recent months mean a lower combined price is possible. The Crafar businesses were placed in receivership in October last year by its bankers Westpac, Rabobank and PGG Wrightson Finance, who are owed around NZ$200 million. Michael Stiassny and Brendon Gibson of KordaMentha were appointed receivers. The 16 farms are located in the Waikato, near Benneydale in the King Country, Reporoa, Atiamuri, Waverley, Hawera and Bulls. They employ nearly 200 staff and managers and cover 8,000 hectares. Natural Dairy and May Wang had been in talks to buy the Crafar Farms as a single lot for over NZ$100 million, but it has become bogged down in applications to the Overseas Investment Office. Michael Stiassny said in a statement issued by Bayleys: “We have no signed agreement with either Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings or UBNZ Assets Holdings.” “They have expressed an interest in the Crafar properties, but we have no formal agreements in place with either company at the present time,” Stiassny said. The farms are being sold domestically and internationally through a tender process closing on June 23 through Bayleys Real Estate. Buyers will be able to review the farms in early May. “The corporate structure of the Crafar holdings means there is the potential to sell down the portfolio through any combination of units – as individual farms purchased by separate operators, in regional clusters to existing medium-sized farming entities, or to one buyer from the institutional or financial investment sectors,” Bayley's Managing Director Mike Bayley said.

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