Firms: Norton Rose Fulbright (Laguna Bay)
Deal: Laguna Bay purchased Banongill Station
Key players: The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by partner Fadi Khoury (pictured) with assistance from partner Justin Lucas and senior associates Rahil Patel, Nicole Bury and Susie Li.
Deal significance: In June, agricultural investment specialist Laguna Bay completed a first close of its agriculture fund with approximately $280 million of investor backing.
Laguna Bay’s fund aims to invest in a portfolio of low-risk, high-quality agricultural assets in Australia and New Zealand. It invests on behalf of local and offshore investors, including North American pension and endowment funds.
Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1 has now made its first acquisition of prime Victorian farmland known as Banongill Station.
Banongill Station is a large, mixed cropping and livestock enterprise located about 170 kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria. It has more than 1500 hectares of arable land suitable for a wide range of cropping types, along with about 6880 contiguous hectares dedicated to livestock.
The station was purchased from Stewart and Sue Gull, who have spent a decade upgrading the farm infrastructure and grounds and acquiring neighbouring properties.
The sale of Banongill Station was negotiated with Colliers International acting on behalf of the vendor, and has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
“It was pleasing to assist Laguna Bay to make this important acquisition so soon after the first close of its fund," lead partner Mr Khoury said.
“This deal highlights the big potential in the Australian agriculture sector for future sustainable investment in quality assets, as well as the strong interest among astute institutional investors.”