Two Welsh milk producers are taking the principles of off-farm investment to a new level by inviting farmers to place up to 10m in the Swedish property market.
Nigel Evans and Bill Ridge, who both run spring-calving dairy herds in Pembrokeshire, have created a limited liability partnership with a former tax consultant, Huw Evans, to acquire Swedish investment property.
They are investing their own money and inviting other farmers to put in a minimum of 50,000 each.
The partners freed themselves from their on-farm commitments to research the project for two years.
They investigated the potential of several eastern European countries before deciding on Sweden because of the attractive stage of the property cycle within the country.
Sweden experienced a property boom and bust in the 1990s, but prices were still low compared with other European countries, said Mr Evans, who in partnership with his wife, Sue, has a 200-cow herd at Spittal Cross Farm, near Haverfordwest.
“There have been some rises in property values, but they still have some way to go.”
The two dairy farmers have already achieved success with a smaller commercial property syndicate.
Mr Ridge, who runs a 350-cow organic dairy herd at Vaynor Farm, Narberth, with his wife, Sarah, said: “On the back of that we had interest from other farmers who were keen to get involved in something similar.”
Due to the number of investors who expressed an interest, coupled with a legal obligation to comply with the Financial Services legislation, they established the Evanridge Swedish Property Limited Liability Partnership.
The pool stands at 2.5m, but the partnership is confident investment will increase considerably before the fund closes.
Non-recourse loan capital from Swedish banks combined with investor capital could give a total fund value of up to 50m.
The partners will manage the fund on behalf of farmers and will be paid an annual fee of 1% of the property value.