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China buyers in talks over farms

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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Chinese buyers look to be back in the running to buy the controversial multimillion-dollar Tasmanian Farms.

Mayor Andrew Judd yesterday confirmed that Taranaki Investment Management Limited (Timl) had buyers interested in the $152 million properties. "Timl is negotiating with buyers and we are getting our heads around what that could mean," he said.

Judd said he believed the buyers were a syndicate from China. There was no estimated time of sale, Judd said, but he hoped to know more after his visit to the farms next month.

Last September it was reported that it was believed that Timl's managers were closing in on a sale with Chinese interests.

The year before it was reported that the Chinese Investment Corporation had held talks with Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings about acquiring an interest in Van Diemen's Land Company (VDL) farms.

The Tasmanian farms represent about two-thirds of the council's Perpetual Investment Fund (Pif) and this has long created concern that there are too many eggs in one basket.

If Timl did sell the farms Judd did not know where the money would be invested. "That's Timl's brief. That's why Timl was established - they are mandated to investigate where they go."

The Pif was created in 2004 from the $259 million council received from selling its shares in Powerco.

It has since pumped around $178m into coffers, but as council has continued to take more than the Pif has earned in recent years, it has dwindled from the $259m to $203m.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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