Hart sells off dairy farms

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 15:41 31/01/2013
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Fairfax NZ
GRAEME HART: The packaging empire king is back at No 1 after being usurped by Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov last year.

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Billionaire Kiwi businessman Graeme Hart has sold eight forestry-converted dairy farms in south Waikato to Swedish investors, leaving just five of his original big cluster of farms there still on the block.

Southern Pastures Partnership closed the deal with Hart’s Carter Holt Harvey HBU and Rank Group Property Investment companies in December, after obtaining Overseas Investment Office consent to the deal.

The settlement price is confidential.The OIO said Southern Pastures is 99 per cent owned by a Swedish public company, with a New Zealand company holding 1 per cent.

Southern Pastures intended to run the properties as commercial dairy farms, the OIO said.

The company intended to lift milk production and develop the farms.The sale means the Hart companies have five farms left to sell out of 31 which came on the market in December 2009.The Waikato Times understands 24 have sold, including the eight, and two have conditional deals on them.

The farms near Tokoroa were converted from forest to dairy use around five years ago.Companies Office records show the directors of Southern Pastures, registered in 2009, are former All Black Graham Mourie, Michael Copeland, Stuart Ford, Prem Maan, Taaringaroa Nicholas and Philip Wight.

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