NSW dips into $150m equity fund to take a $3.3m stake in a high-growth potential beef business

Wagyu

The NSW Government has purchased a $3.3 million stake in Wagyu beef agribusiness Stone Axe Pastoral, marking the first time it has dipped into its $150 million Go NSW Equity Fund, unveiled last October.

[Related: NSW Government set to secure equity in SMEs with ‘good ideas’ using new $150 million fund]

Delivered in partnership with First State Super and ROC Partners, the state government fund has been earmarked for direct investments in high-growth potential businesses.

Minister for Small Business and Regional NSW John Barilaro said the government’s $3.3m stake in Stone Axe Pastoral, which was accompanied by a $6.7 million co-investment from First State Super, will strengthen the company’s position as a significant global player in the Wagyu industry. Specifically, he said the capital will allow the Ebor-based company to create 76 full-time jobs over five years and breed largest Full-Blood Wagyu cattle herd outside of Japan.

“The Liberals and Nationals Government is doing business differently in NSW,” Minister Barilaro said. “[We’re] putting our money where our mouth is to ensure we continue to create more jobs in this state than any other state in Australia.”

First State Super Chief Investment Officer Damian Graham said the company was delighted to be supporting a rural NSW agricultural business as its first investment through the GO NSW Equity Fund.

“Our top priority is to deliver sustainable returns to our members over the long term, and we believe this investment in Stone Axe Pastoral is a strong and sound one, and a great start to the GO NSW partnership with the NSW Government,” Graham said.

“For First-State Super, this Fund is all about delivering positive social benefits, while also maximising the growth potential of small to medium-sized businesses to deliver good returns to our members.

Stone Axe Pastoral CEO Scott Richardson said, “we are delighted with NSW Government and First State Super’s decision to invest in our business. The partnership with the NSW Government and First State Super will help the company expand in and around Ebor in regional NSW.”

“The investment means we will be able to continue to build on our existing Full-Blood Wagyu breeding program in some of the best cattle country in Australia, as well as look at other strategic opportunities to invest further into the supply chain as part of our overall paddock to plate strategy.”

Managing Director of ROC Partners Michael Lukin said the private equity investment firm was excited by the opportunities in regional NSW being “uncovered” through its involvement with the GO NSW Equity Fund.

“We believe there are many attractive investment opportunities in regional NSW that can likewise be supported by the Fund,” he said.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said he was pleased the partnership will deliver more jobs to the premium cattle-producing region.

“This is a ground-breaking deal, that will establish Ebor as a major player in the country’s Wagyu export industry,” Marshall said.