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Swiss Property Investors Buy Large New Zealand Farm For $6.4million

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A Swiss property investment syndicate has purchased a $6.4 million sheep and beef station in Gisborne - adding to its existing New Zealand portfolio of rural real estate.

The syndicate bought Mangatoto Station some 55 kilometres south of Gisborne with the intention of running the farm as a stand-alone business within their sizeable empire. It is the first time the property has been put on the market for sale since 1895.

Mangatoto Station is a 1,524 hectare unit running approximately 1,350 sheep and beef stock. The property has medium to steep contour, with the majority of land having with a warm northerly aspect. Infrastructure across the property is well-developed - with a full range of well-maintained station buildings, a four bedroom homestead and two farm houses.

The deal was brokered by Bayleys Gisborne sales consultant Patrick Willock, and took some six months to conclude as official approval had to be consented through the Overseas Investment Office.

"The OIO has to approve any large international investments in the country, so the investors had to prepare a detailed report about their intentions and nature of the Mangatoto investment," says Willock.

The investors were in New Zealand June this year conducting due diligence on the sizeable Mangatoto property. The investment consortium was working under a New Zealand registered company - Middlemount Forest Ltd - headed up by Swiss investor Heiner Henny.

At that time, Henny and his business associate Oliver Roth who was also in New Zealand to finalise the deal, considered the Swiss Franc was over-valued compared to the New Zealand dollar - and priced their offer accordingly.

Their New Zealand country real estate portfolio already includes a sizeable forestry plantation in Opio, Southland, purchased some three years ago.

"The Swiss have a considerable empathy with New Zealand as a country," said Mr Willock. "They warm to New Zealand's transparent and democratic government systems, and feel comfortable with the long term forecasts on primary produce returns.

"I believe their New Zealand purchases have been based on long-term holding forecasts with the potential to receive not only cashflow from the annual sale of produce, but also the potential to benefit from any capital gains in values, and any downward movement on the New Zealand dollar."

Mr Willock said it was encouraging for the Gisborne economy that such a substantial land holding had been sold to a corporate entity with specific plans to invest the in the property to increase output.

Mangatoto employs three staff members, including the former farm owner as the general supervisor.

"While somewhat time consuming, Henny and Roth understood the underlying rationales behind the process offshore buyers had to go through to buy large properties in New Zealand," Mr Willock said.

"And as they are from Switzerland, they are used to hilly countryside, so they're not put off by the terrain we have in this area," Mr Willock added.

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