Victorian-based Excel Farms, backed by Canadian investment firm Fiera Comox, has secured Western Australia mixed-farming enterprise Cherylton Farms for a record-breaking price of in excess of $100 million.
This result comes after a competitive expression of interest campaign that closed on 1 December 2022.
Located 23km south-west of Kojonup in the Great Southern Region, the 8554-hectare property drew attention from local, national and international parties.
Cherylton Farms’ existing operations include diversified cropping and livestock grazing, focused on the production of crops including barley, canola, oats as well as Merino and composite sheep flocks.
It had been owned by property builder and investor Julian Walter for 14 years.
Excel Farms general manager Nick Paterson said he was “pleased with the outcome”.
He said Excel plans to continue to operate Cherylton as it was under the previous owners and maintain a mixed-farming program including both cropping and sheep grazing.
LAWD director Simon Wilkinson congratulated both parties following the sale of the blue-chip asset.
“Congratulations to both our vendor and farm manager Mike Cameron, on developing such an outstanding asset,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“The new owners will benefit from the strategic farming practices implemented by Mr Cameron, who is well regarded for his ability to develop agricultural farmlands into high performing assets, through a careful combination of scale, precision management and a strong focus on team culture.”
LAWD initially predicted that the property would make circa $90M, with the final result being more than $10M higher than this figure.
“The sale is record breaking for the area, based on a result of greater than $100M on a walk-in walk-out basis.
“The successful purchasers hold very similar core values to the Cherylton Farms team which will assist in supporting the continuation of this prosperous enterprise.”
Excel Farms launched in 2020 and has built a portfolio of five aggregations across the Western District, Wimmera, and Mallee regions of Victoria and on the Limestone Coast of South Australia.
The operation is owned by the Paterson family, in partnership with Fiera Comox.
Rowly and Judy Paterson are well known in Victoria as owners of Ace Radio, a media company which runs 21 radio stations, a newspaper and digital marketing organisation.
Based in Montreal, Fiera Comox, via the firm’s global agriculture funds, has invested in about 36,500ha of cropping country in Queensland and has more than 40,000ha in Victoria.
WA property in demand
LAWD senior director Danny Thomas said Cherylton Farms’ outstanding sale price reflected a broader trend of large investors seeking agricultural assets that offer quality and scale in WA.
“We have seen both direct foreign investors and domestic institutions recognise the significant value offered in WA in comparison to east-coast Australia and overseas land markets,” Mr Thomas said.
“We experienced exceptionally high levels of participation from institutional investors in the sale process for Cherylton Farms.
“Any Western Australian vendor looking to divest a high-quality, large-scale asset in the current market will see that asset met with very high demand, noting accepted district land values are likely to be eclipsed.
“LAWD expect to see this trend continue to strengthen through 2023.”