ASX-listed Carbon Conscious sells NZ assets to expand into dairying in WA

ASX-listed carbon emissions abatement firm Carbon Conscious has sold its New Zealand assets for $3.6 million, as it shifts its focus to dairying in Western Australia.

The company has entered into an unconditional agreement for all its local assets, which includes freehold land, 800 hectares of pine plantations, forestry rights and carbon credits, it said in a statement. Carbon Conscious has used the forests it owns in Australia and New Zealand to generate carbon credits that are compliant with the Kyoto Protocol, an international climate change agreement.

"The execution of the sale agreement for our New Zealand assets provides the company with greater flexibility in relation to its dairy ambitions," executive director Andrew McBain said.

After settlement on April 1, sale funds will be used to pay back A$1.3 million in remaining debt, three years ahead of schedule, McBain said.

Carbon Conscious announced in January it had leased a 330 hectare farm in Western Australia and signing a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company Green Lake to sell fresh milk straight into China .

As of its annual meeting held on Feb. 29, Carbon Conscious has also changed its name to Alterra "to better reflect its broad agricultural ambitions."

Last year, the company came under fire from the Overseas Investment Office, which said it used a New Zealand company to invest in sensitive rural land to speed up its plans to plant trees on the property.

The OIO is pursuing Carbon Conscious's New Zealand subsidiary and New Zealand-owned Katey LR Investments, alleging breaches of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 in relation to a 115 hectare property near Stratford in August 2012. It's seeking penalties in the High Court of up to $300,000 for the alleged breach.