Ealing dairy farm auctioned for $65m

Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014

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A Mid Canterbury dairy farm that was formerly part-owned by Allan Hubbard has sold for almost $65 million.

Fairfax understands Ealing Pastures sold for $64.49 million at auction yesterday at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.

The 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.

In May last year, Fairfax Media reported the Court of Appeal ruled on the dissolution of the farm caught in the aftermath of the late embattled financier Allan Hubbard's death.

The court upheld a High Court ruling that a Western Australian businessman did not have pre-emptive rights to buy the Hubbards' share of a 1245 hectare property. It was bought for $5m in 2000 and was valued at $60m in 2011, with borrowings of $20m.

It was bought by farm manager 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 Mr Hubbard's death in September 2011, the Morrises sought to buy the Hubbards' interest, 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 sought 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.

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 430 hectares of irrigated dairy run-off.

It described the property as offering "excellent farm accommodation 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.

Murdoch and Dineen were unavailable for comment. 

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- The Timaru Herald

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