Cemex farm sales bring investment opportunities

A portfolio of 1,600-plus acres of let farms and bare land will be launched next week as whole or in several lots, stretching from Stirling in Scotland to Egham in Surrey.

The sale follows a review by Cemex of its large UK land holding. The company is a major supplier of building and construction materials including cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates, asphalt and concrete blocks.

The properties have an overall guide price of £11m and guide prices for the individual lots will be set next week. The land and houses earn about £160,000 a year in rent and are for sale through Fisher German.

All the sites have large areas of mineral reserves and the conditions of sale will include options for Cemex to extract the minerals through leaseback arrangements, earning landowners a percentage royalty of the open market value. Full restoration is to follow extraction.

The largest lot is at Alrewas, Staffordshire. Two farms let on AHA tenancies include three farmhouses and two pairs of semi-detached cottages. The 817 acres or so of arable and grassland is mainly Grade 3 and 4 but includes small patches of Grade 2 land. Part of the land adjoins the River Trent and is liable to flooding.

There is 317 acres of Grade 2 and 3 bare land with irrigation at Taplow, near Windsor, Berkshire. This has good road access and lies next to junction 7 of the M4. The land is let on two FBTs, one short-term and one to 2021. This lot includes a telecoms mast with a Vodafone lease currently being renewed.

“This group of sites is a fascinating investment opportunity. It has a very broad appeal through the nature of the land, mineral reserve prospects and the lotting strategy.”
David Merton, Fisher German

About 115 acres of Grade 3 grassland and arable set in pretty countryside at Moddershall, near Stoke-on-Trent, includes a large range of farm buildings – all let on an FBT, due for renewal this September. The four-bedroom house is in a moderate condition and let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy with a traditional range of buildings.

In Buckinghamshire, a block of about 126 acres of Grade 2 and 3 arable and grassland adjoins the Great Ouse River in attractive countryside at Harrold, near Newport Pagnell. This is an AHA let and includes fishing rights reserved until 30 March 2013.

A ringfenced farm of 93 acres near Egham in Surrey includes a pair of semi-detached cottages, one let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and one on a Protected Shorthold, while the land and farm buildings are let on an FBT. There is a derelict farmhouse and traditional range of buildings and the land is quite wet in places.

The single Scottish lot is about 127 acres of grassland bordering the River Teith, near Stirling, and liable to flooding. This is let on a grazing licence and a Scottish Limited Duration Tenancy.

“This group of sites is a fascinating investment opportunity,” said Fisher German partner David Merton. “It has a very broad appeal through the nature of the land, mineral reserve prospects and the lotting strategy.”

Mr Merton expected strong local demand for attractive farmland and well-situated residential properties and believed the complete portfolio would be of interest to institutions and private individuals interested in the agricultural investments and the mineral leaseback opportunities.

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