Friday, 30 April 2021 11:16

Buyer for VLG assets

Written by  Adam Fricker
The Van Leeuwen Group went into receivership last week. The Van Leeuwen Group went into receivership last week.

The New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) says it has entered conditional agreements to buy assets from the Van Leeuwen Group (VGL), which went into receivership last week.

The transaction will see NZL acquire 14 dairy farms for a total price of $114 million, subject to final adjustments. NZL says it has also entered three separate lease agreements for the 14 farms, with an annual total rental of $5.796m.

NZL says over the past four months it has done extensive due diligence on the VGL assets and the incoming tenants, and believes the “acquisition represents an attractive purchase”.

On the 20th of April, Calibre Partners was appointed as receiver for VGL. Calibre was quoted as saying the business had strong EBITDA but also had “capital structure issues”. NZL says the transaction announced today “solves those capital structure issues”.

Owned by Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen, VGL was among a number of farms around New Zealand affected by Mycoplasma bovis, which hit the VLG farms in July 2017.

The van Leeuwens were also embroiled in a legal battle with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in a dispute about compensation. They have already been paid out $6.3 million by MPI, but sought further compensation for professional consultancy fees, bank charges and assorted other costs.

In late 2019, VLG refinanced its operations under a $140 million deal with Australian-based funds manager Merricks Capital, its first foray into the NZ agricultural market.

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