A Mid-Canterbury dairy farm that was formerly part-owned by Allan Hubbard has sold for almost $65 million.
Ealing Pastures sold for a whopping $64.49m at auction yesterday at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.
Western Australian businessman Geoffrey Holman, who used to own a 50 per cent share in the 1245-hectare property, was the under-bidder for the entire auction.
In 2000 Ealing Pastures was bought for $5m by a partnership comprised of Andrew Morris and his wife, Rachele (25 per cent), Allan and Jean Hubbard (25 per cent) and Geoffrey and Frances Holman, of Perth, who had a 50 per cent interest.
After the embattled Timaru financier was killed in a car crash in 2011 the Morrises sought to buy the Hubbards' interest, that was then in the control of statutory managers.
They then sought to dissolve the original partnership and divide the property into two, which caused the Holmans' and Morrises' relationship to sour.
The Holmans tried to stop the partnership dissolving through the High Court, arguing they had pre-emptive rights to buy the other partners' shares.
The court found no pre-emptive rights existed and allowed the property to be divided.
It already operated as two separate farms.
In May last year the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court rul- ing that the Holmans did not have pre-emptive rights to buy the Hubbards' share of a 1245-hectare property.
The winning bid was made by Christchurch-based lawyer Mark Dineen, of Goodman Tavendale Reid Law, but it was not revealed on whose behalf he was operating.
He told The Press his clients were New Zealanders but he was unable to provide any further details.
He said the sale price "reflected the scale of the farm and the current market".
The auction attracted about 200 people, he said. There were about four bidders in total.
"It's possibly one of the largest real estate farm transactions in a gross base," Dineen said.
"There was a lot of interest from locals."
The listing on nzfarms.co.nz said Ealing Pastures milked about 3200 cows and was expected to produce 1.3m kilograms of milksolids this season.
The property was made up of 820 hectares in two dairy units and about 430ha of irrigated dairy run-off.
It described the property as offering "excellent farm accommoda- tion including a large main homestead".
"Don't miss this opportunity to invest in New Zealand's fastest growing industry," the listing said.
Chris Murdoch, of Hastings McLeod Property Brokers in Ashburton, was the property's agent.
- The Press