Investor taps M&A advisors to help milk its Ace Dairy investment

19 May 2021 2 min. read

M&A advisors from PwC and LAWD are helping Stirling-based asset management firm Duxton Capital offload Ace Dairy Holdings – a sizeable dairy farming operation based in Victoria. 

Ace Dairy places among the three biggest dairy asset portfolios in Australia, spanning 4,000 cows across 2,040 hectares of farmland in Victoria’s East Gippsland region – producing over 2 million megalitres of milk solids every year. 

Duxton Capital, an agri-focused asset management firm based in South Australia, has owned Ace Dairy for over a decade now, and is looking to cash in these assets – valued at roughly $70 million – according to reports in the Australian Financial Review. PwC has been called in to find potential buyers, alongside LAWD – a Melbourne-based real estate firm specialised in agribusiness valuations and transactions. 

Ace Dairy has over 4,000 cows across Victoria

The advisors have sent out a flyer to potential parties of interest – listing the assets on offer and inviting expressions of interest by mid-June. The plan is to sell all of Ace Dairy’s assets – including access to 8,000 megalitres of irrigation water from the Macalister district – under a single contract via a two-step auction. 

And the assets promise to be in good condition, given Duxton’s strategy of developing its portfolio. According to the firm’s LinkedIn page, “Duxton works with top-tier farm managers to create operational efficiencies through consolidation, utilisation and adopting the latest farming technologies.” 

“Duxton also aims to increase enterprise value through adopting large-scale production systems, vertical and horizontal integration, to realise economies-of-scale.” Two ASX-listed companies currently manage their investments through Duxton, which was founded in 2014. 

The sale is in good hands too. Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC has a breadth of experience in supporting farm asset sales across Australia. The country’s largest land, water and infrastructure agribusiness – Auscott – tapped PwC to manage a sale in two phases across 2019 and 2020, with the initial sale yielding a reported $300 million for US-based parent company JG Boswell. 

In December last year, Queensland-based renewable energy plant Clarke Creek Wind Farm brought PwC on board to find buyers willing to invest $800 million in an initial asset sale. Fellow advisor LAWD is a relatively young firm – launched in June 2020 – but its co-founders bring over 170 transactions in the agribusiness space to the table.