Chinese withdraw; Kiwi buys Jericho Station

The successful bidder for a state-owned Southland farm says he is not anti-foreign investment but "chuffed" his bid won the day.

Southland farmer Ed Pinckney said he learned last week  he was the unconditional contract-holder for Jericho Station, a 1359ha sheep and beef station in Fiordland.

Landcorp Farming, the state-owned farmer trading as Pamu Farms of New Zealand, signed  with Mr Pinckney after the preferred foreign buyer withdrew.

"I’m pretty chuffed - it’s been a big year," Mr Pinckney said.

"I’m not anti-foreign investment -  I want to make that clear - but I think it should be a level playing field, which is important," he said.

"What do I mean by that? In the small differences in price values offered, there’s got to be a platform  that is fair for both sides." 

Mr Pinckney, who bid $8.5 million, was pipped by an $8.7 million offer from Chinese buyer Qianlong Farms when the farm was put to market in late 2016.

However, the Chinese buyer later withdrew  their application to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).  Landcorp spokesman Simon King said.

"As such we have proceeded to finalise the sale and purchase of the farm with the party that has made an unconditional back-up offer, which does not require OIO approval."

Mr Pinckney did not know why Qianlong had withdrawn but speculated the hurdles the company faced may have been too high.

He had big plans for the station, having had the past year to think about it.

"I think it’s got a huge amount of potential to increase productivity and production." 

-  Additional reporting BusinessDesk

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