Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright acts for Laguna Bay in first major agricultural purchase in Australia
Last Updated: 29 September 2016

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Australian agricultural investment specialist Laguna Bay on the purchase of prime Victorian farmland known as Banongill Station.

This is the first acquisition by Laguna Bay Agricultural Fund 1, and follows Norton Rose Fulbright's advisory role in the successful first close of the fund with approximately $280 million of investor backing.

Banongill Station is a large mixed cropping and livestock enterprise located about 170 kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria. It has more than 2,000 hectares of arable land suitable for a wide range of cropping types, along with about 7,000 contiguous hectares dedicated to livestock.
The station was purchased from Stewart and Sue Gull, who have spent a decade upgrading the farm infrastructure and grounds and acquiring neighbouring properties. The sale of Banongill Station was negotiated with Colliers International acting on behalf of the vendor, and has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Laguna Bay's fund aims to invest in a portfolio of low-risk, high-quality agricultural assets in Australia and New Zealand. It invests on behalf of local and offshore investors, including North American pension and endowment funds.

Norton Rose Fulbright lead partner Fadi Khoury, one of Australia's most experienced Alternative Investment lawyers, commented:
"It was pleasing to assist Laguna Bay to make this important acquisition so soon after the first close of its fund. This deal highlights the big potential in the Australian agriculture sector for future sustainable investment in quality assets, as well as the strong interest among astute institutional investors."

Laguna Bay chief executive and co-founder Tim McGavin commented:

"Banongill Station, not least for the scale of its operations and the quality of its infrastructure, is one of the best holdings of its type in the Western Districts of Victoria. We are excited by the opportunity of further developing the property with innovative cropping systems and intensive pasture management. We thank Fadi Khoury and Norton Rose Fulbright for their strategic guidance in growing our business."

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