Thomson Geer has advised J.G. Boswell Company on the sale of one of Australia’s largest land, water and infrastructure agribusinesses, Australian cotton grower and producer Auscott Limited to Australian Food & Fibre (AFF) following a competitive sale process run by PwC.
Founded in 1963 by J.G. Boswell Company, Auscott was one of the first cotton producers in Australia and over the last 58 years, Auscott has established itself as a leading cotton producer with a large geographic farming footprint spanning across the three major cotton growing regions of Namoi, Macquarie and Murrumbidgee.
Under the terms of the deal, AFF will acquire 100% of the issued shares in Auscott, including its 22,000 hectares of developed irrigation land in Central NSW and 143,000 megalitres of water entitlements, as well as associated properties, ginning, warehousing and marketing operations.
AFF is a joint venture between the Robinson family and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers and a long-term investor in Australian agriculture.
The sale followed the successful sale by Auscott to AFF of its 17,300-hectare cropping aggregation and ginning business, the Midkin Aggregation in 2019. The Midkin sale included all of Auscott’s Gwydir Valley properties, 57,600 megalitres of water entitlements and the ginning site at Ashley, north of Moree, which has capacity to handle at least 200,000 bales a year. Thomson Geer also advised Auscott on that transaction.
Ashley Power, CEO and Managing Director of Auscott, said “Selling the company that has operated in Australia for some 58 years has been a long and complex process and we have been glad to have the Thomson Geer team working for us and especially would like to express our gratitude to Marc Wyld, Nell Cantrill, Helen Jin and Mark Procajlo for their expertise, guidance and commitment on the deal”.
Thomson Geer partner Marc Wyld said, “Completion of this transaction comes after almost 12 months of tireless work from all involved, particularly from Auscott management, through a competitive sale process run by PwC which attracted interest from a wide range of bidders. We are pleased that J.G. Boswell entrusted us with this important transaction after we assisted Auscott on the successful sale of the Midkin aggregation to AFF in 2019. It was a pleasure working with the J.G. Boswell, Auscott and PwC teams on this transaction to achieve a successful result”.
The Thomson Geer team was led by corporate partner Marc Wyld with assistance from associate Nell Cantrill. They were supported by specialist agribusiness partner Mark Procajlo, employment partner Jonathon Corlett, corporate special counsel Helen Jin, associate Catherine Wei and lawyers Matthew Yahl, David Thomas, David Chen and Elodie Bethuel.