Corish eyeing a new ag venture

Corish eyeing a new ag venture


Business
Former PrimeAg managing director Peter Corish is looking at developing a small-scale similar venture based in the Goondiwindi district.

Former PrimeAg managing director Peter Corish is looking at developing a small-scale similar venture based in the Goondiwindi district.

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FORMER PrimeAg Australia chief executive Peter Corish is sounding out investors for a new $50 million rural land venture.

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FORMER PrimeAg Australia chief executive Peter Corish is sounding out investors for a new $50 million rural land venture.

According to documents obtained by Fairfax Media, the Corish Group is offering to seed its "Yambocully" property near Goondiwindi in South West Queensland into a joint venture which will also buy neighbouring properties "Undbri" and "South Giddi Giddi".

The Corish Group plans to invest up to 50 per cent of any "Yambocully" sale proceeds back into the venture, which the family company would then manage.

"'Undabri' and 'South Giddi Giddi' are close neighbours and we do have some preliminary interest in a joint venture," Mr Corish said.

"The properties have only just become available again and our interest is only at an early stage."

The former head of the National Farmers Federation and chairman of Cotton Australia was the founding force behind rural land company PrimeAg and saw it listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2007.

He seeded three properties into that company, including his farm, "Brayland", a 3211-hectare cotton property in Emerald, Queensland, which he purchased for $19 million in 2004.

In August last year, Mr Corish and PrimeAg chairman Roger Corbett announced plans to privatise PrimeAg and return capital to shareholders because the market had failed to recognise the true value of the company's rural assets.

By October, US financial services giant TIAA-CREF Investment Management had snapped up a large part of the company's portfolio and Prime- Ag was officially delisted in November.

"Undabri" and "South Giddi Giddi", formerly owned by the Doyle Group, are in the hands of receivers Deloitte.

At one stage, a Chinese group was looking to buy "Undabri".

Price expectations for "Undabri" and "South Giddi Giddi" had been as high as $50m, while "Yambocully" has a valuation of about $18m.

The three properties, totalling 17,435 hectares, have about 2800ha of irrigation land and are located on black-soil plains.

Mr Corish's son, Nigel, who was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship this year to study the cotton industry overseas, is the proposed operator of the assets if the venture proceeds.

It is proposed the three properties will be managed from one hub - a model similar to the way PrimeAg operated.

Grazing country can also be linked between the properties, allowing them to be fully utilised.

"Undabri" and "Yambocully" have a combined nominal water entitlement of 11,600 megalitres, while water storage capacities include more than 21,000 megalitres on "Yambocully" and 11,000ML on "Undabri" and "South Giddi Giddi".

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