Australian agricultural fund manager, Laguna Bay today announced it had entered into an unconditional agreement to sell flagship Victorian Western District cropping and livestock holding, Banongill Station, for approximately A$80 million to a consortium of local farming families.

The transaction includes 8,200ha (20,000 acre) of prime mixed farming land, located 8km from Skipton and 45 minutes drive from Ballarat, while 30,000 head of sheep and significant plant and equipment assets will be sold separately.

It is the first asset sale by the Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1 (“the Fund”) following the Fund’s close in 2016. Since acquiring the property in 2016 Laguna Bay has converted significant area from grazing to cropping, improved existing cropping country along with substantial pasture and water infrastructure upgrades.

Established in 1853, the Banongill Station homestead was originally an outpost of Borriyalook station, and owned by pastoralist and philanthropist Francis Ormond, founder of Ormond College. Together with its traditional bluestone construction and National Trust gardens it is widely considered one of the best in class, flagship properties in Victoria.

Laguna Bay Founder and CEO, Tim McGavin, said he was delighted by the result.

“This sale solidifies a significant return for our Fund investors and reflects the resilience of the agricultural sector in contrast to the crippling impacts we are seeing in other sectors of the economy,” Mr McGavin said.

“We look forward to a smooth transition to the Australian buyer group and to continuing our contribution to the local community through the retention of our 3,300ha (8,200 acre) Woorndoo cropping enterprise, 50km from Banongill.”

There is a significant amount of high quality plant and equipment which Elders Ballarat have been engaged to sell via clearance in early 2021. Farm General Manager John Sheehan is excited to offer full lines of merino and cross bred ewes to the market in the coming months. “The quality of the ewes has been exceptional over the past two years and given the current demand for restocking we are expecting strong sale results”, Mr Sheehan said.

Laguna Bay negotiated the sale directly with the buyer consortium, which is expected to settle post-harvest in Q1 2021. No regulatory approvals are required.