Buyers prone to overpay for Aussie agribusiness

Demand for food supply is pushing up the price of agricultural businesses in Australia where there are always more bidders than available assets, say M&A advisers.
Not every deal in the agribusiness sector turns out to be a cash cow
Not every deal in the agribusiness sector turns out to be a cash cow

Asian buyers are scouring Australia’s agricultural districts for suitable acquisitions but it isn’t always easy to make attractive returns on investment in the sector, says Anthony Sweetman, head of corporate advisory at UBS in Sydney.

This is because deals can be charged with emotion and prices are high relative to asset values.

All eyes have been on the sector following a couple of high profile cross-border transactions, including last year’s A$240 million US$214 million sale of a 93,000 hectare cotton farm called Cubbie Station to a consortium bankrolled by Chinese textile-maker Shandong RuYi.

Foreign interests were also behind a A$3.4 billion takeover...

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