Chinese buyers want Crafar farms sale price kept secret

Overseas Investment Office accedes to Chinese request for secrecy.

The Overseas Investment Office has bowed to Chinese requests to keep the price of the 16 Crafar farms secret.

An OIO decision sheet released today states the price is “confidential”, although it says the investment is more than $100 million.

The prices will eventually become public when the sales are registered.

According to some reports, the combined price of the receivership sale by Kordamentha was $210 million.

The Chinese-backed buyer, Milk NZ, was set up by Shanghai Pengxin to operate the farms under the management of state-owned Landcorp.

Three of the properties are drystock units and the remaining 13 are dairy farms.

Because of the receivership, the farms do not have long-term investment plans and the applicant claims productivity is below the potential of these farms.

NZ Milk, funded by its parent company, will acquire the farms and fund their management and development. A joint venture company owned 50/50 by NZ Milk and Landcorp will develop and manage the properties.

Landcorp will also manage the disposal and acquisition of properties for the portfolio, and undertake capital expenditure on behalf of NZ Milk.

A rival Kiwi consortium led by Sir Michael Fay says it will appeal the decision through the courts.

The Overseas Investment Office also approved the sale of four farms at Stratford to a company 50/50 owned by British and Australian investors.

The value of each farm is $1.3 million, $2.4 million, $1.5 million and $345,000.