PLANS SCRAPPED: Real estate farm deal collapses

A real estate agent says the collapse of a major farming property deal, rumoured to have been worth $750 million, would have an impact on farmers.

But Landmark agent Gerard Delaney said there were other buyers looking for farms in the Colac region and prices were stable.

Unconfirmed reports claimed investment company Aerem, formerly known as Linear Capital, planned to buy up to 70 dairy farms in south-west Victoria and build a processing plant near Colac.

News of the deal’s collapse began circulating this month.

Charles Stewart Real Estate’s Michael Stewart, who was the agent for farm sales, said he was unable to discuss details of the Aerem deal.

“It’s a great pity the deal wasn’t able to proceed; it would have been great for the development of the dairying industry but unfortunately hasn’t come to fruition,” he said.

Mr Delaney said farmers who believed they we going to sell as part of the Aerem deal made significant changes on farm and off farm.

“The market’s been brisk after a period of waiting, farmers were waiting to see about the deal, I am fielding a lot of frustration but luckily enough for some dairy farmers, they’ve still been able to sell,” he said.

“We’ve sold four farms recently and some had been tied up with the Aerem deal.

“We started getting calls about 5 months ago, and then I’m not sure what happened last week but we had a lot of calls on the Tuesday.”

Mr Delaney said the good news for farmers was that properties were selling for what seemed to be the market price.

“Historically interest rates are as low as they’ve been, so it’s a good time for entry into farming,” he said.

“Prices are stable and it’s been a tight season but the area has usually reliable rainfall so that’s why there is a lot of inquiries.

“Buyers vary, we’ve sold farms to neighbours and other farmers and there’s certainly more corporate activity,” Mr Delaney said.

“But we try to screen our purchasers; we have interested parties, fully funded, looking to buy suitable properties in the region.”

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