Last of Graeme Hart farms sell

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 12:33 25/07/2013

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New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, has offloaded all 30 of his Carter Holt Harvey farms that were converted from forests in Rotorua and South Waikato after a four-year sales process.

The last five farms out of 30 converted properties have sold by tender, marketing agent PGG Wrightson said.

The 30 farms totalled 8600 hectares and sold for more than $200 million.

The sales of so many farms - 29 dairy and one dry stock - had had an impact on the market, said Paul O'Sullivan, PGG Wrightson sales manager for the area.

Between December and June, the median bare-land price for Waikato dairy properties was $26,000 per hectare, compared to about $34,000 previously, he said.

Trinity Lands, a company of local farmers, bought three of the final group of five farms, taking its total purchases of the former CHH farms to 15, he said.

Another significant buyer was Southern Pastoral, which has former All Black captain Graham Mourie among its directors and is 99 per cent owned by a Swedish state pension fund. Southern Pastoral bought 10 of the farms with individuals buying the rest.

O'Sullivan said while the choice of so many farms on the market had been good for buyers, similar farms will be scarce and prices would probably increase in the coming months now the CHH farms are sold.

Conversion of the CHH farms from forestry to dairy created about 200 new jobs and attracted 99 new families to the district.

O'Sullivan said six South Waikato farms owned by Contact Energy had also attracted market interest.

The six properties totalling 1000 hectares, and within 15 kilometres of Taupo, were no longer required by the electricity generator after its development of the Te Mihi geothermal power plant.

Four of the farms, from 100ha to 200ha in size, have sold for a total of $4.4m. Two more will soon be on the market.

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- Waikato Times

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