goFARM Sandmount Farms aggregation hits the market for $250m-plus

One of Australia’s biggest ag investors has listed its huge farmland and water aggregation for more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

A massive farmland and water aggregation, with the potential to grow 4000 hectares of almonds, has hit the market in northern Victoria with an asking price of more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

The Weekly Times can reveal that goFARM Australia has listed its Sandmount Farms aggregation, comprising 27 individual farms between Numurkah and Cobram and a water portfolio of more than 50,000 megalitres pieced together over the past four years, for upwards of $250 million.

The aggregation is being offered on an international expressions of interest basis through rural property specialist LAWD with a campaign expected to begin next week.

goFARM managing director Liam Lenaghan said Sandmount Farms – formerly Akuna Trust – was the result of more than 70 land and water transactions secured by the business since September 2018. He said while tens of millions of dollars had been on land and water developments and infrastructure, Sandmount was now at the point of requiring a significant injection of outside capital for its transformation phase.

Sandmount Farms is being marketed for its potential to become one of southern Australia’s biggest horticulture farming operations.

“At this point we have validated all the things we set out to achieve and it is ready for the next phase,” Mr Lenaghan told The Weekly Times, adding that Sandmount had the potential to become an $800 million business within the next decade employing 100 people.

Sandmount Farms currently has 207 hectares planted to almonds and 71 hectares devoted to mandarins. Once fully developed it could grow 4000 hectares of almonds, Mr Lenaghan said.

Sandmount Farms’ 50,000-megalitre water portfolio — marketed as “above the (Murray River Barmah) choke and below the ground” — includes 28,000 megalitres of high-security water. There’s a 20,394 megalitre groundwater entitlement from the Katunga deep-lead aquifer and 12,033 megalitres in dam storage rights.

goFARM currently has about $800 million worth agriculture and water assets under management. As well as Mr Lenaghan, backers of the Sandmount project include fruit and vegie king Robert Costa, goFARM directors and several high-net family offices.

Mr Lenaghan said goFARM was committed to the project and the district and was open to having a continued involvement.

The Weekly Times, James Wagstaff

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