UPDATED: Italy's Barilla family, founders of the world's largest pasta company, have paid $25 million to buy a South Island dairy farm from Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink and his wife Jeanet.
New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office approved the purchase in a decision released today, saying the buyers intend to make additional capital investment in the farm and develop significant indigenous biodiversity.
The price for the 413-hectare property Rakaia property represents about $61,000 a hectare, a 33 percent premium to the $46,000 a hectare median price for Canterbury dairy farms in the latest Real Estate Institute figures and 85 percent above the $33,000 national median dairy price in October.
Barilla pasta, sold in distinctive blue cardboard boxes, was established in 1877 as a bread and pasta shop in Parma, Italy. It is now a global business with exports to more than 100 countries and almost 4 billion euro of annual sales. The company is headed by the fourth generation Barilla siblings, Guido, Luca, Paolo and Emanuela, who are named as the new owners of the New Zealand farm.
EARLIER: Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink and wife Albertien have sold their Canterbury farm for $25 million.
The Leferinks have sold their 413ha at 114 Griggs Rd, Rakaia to CO.FI.BA. SRL Guido Barilla of Italy.
The company is owned by Luca Barilla, Paolo Barilla and Emanuela Barilla.
The Overseas Investment Office says the new owners plan to invest additional capital investment in the dairy farm located on the property and to develop significant indigenous biodiversity on the farm.
Over the past couple of years Mr Leferink has downplayed fears about foreign ownership of farms but has strongly opposed Fonterra embarking on a public share float because he says this would quickly result in overseas control.