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Heartland completes StockCo Australia acquisition

The reverse mortgage provider has confirmed its $154.4 million purchase of the agri lender, expanding its overall presence in Australia.

As confirmed by Heartland Group (Heartland) in a statement, the total $154.4 million consideration includes a $1.6 million deferred consideration payable subject to performance hurdles. 

Further, existing operational funding for the livestock finance specialist has been refinanced by a new two-year committed warehouse. 

Heartland has said this was funded by “two major Australian financial institutions” and has additional capacity “secured for growth”.

The reverse mortgage group first revealed its intention to acquire the specialist lender in April, when it announced it had signed conditional documents to acquire StockCo Holdings 2 Limited and StockCo Australia Management Ltd.

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The combination of these two entities forms StockCo Australia.  

This purchase was initially expected to be $143 million, with a potential extra $11 million, depending on whether specific performance metrics were achieved.

The New Zealand-founded reverse mortgage group said in April that this deal would extend its “Australia offering in an area where it already has expertise”. 

It also noted that the agri lender saw 95 per cent of its $341 million portfolio being comprised of both cattle and sheep farmers.

In addition to providing reverse mortgages, the reverse mortgage provider also provides a range of rural and livestock loan options in New Zealand, which it said are “similar to that of StockCo Australia”. 

Expanding on this vision of growth earlier this week (31 May), Heartland said that it plans to build on StockCo Australia’s position as a “market-leading provider of specialist livestock finance for cattle and sheep farmers across Australia”. 

Heartland intends to accomplish this by delivering additional capital for growth, expanding into new market segments, and digitally enhancing the agri lender’s existing product offering. 

The group added that this acquisition is “strategically aligned and financially compelling” and that it represents a “critical milestone” in expanding Heartland’s product and channel offering across Australia.

Heartland chief financial officer Andrew Dixson added that the group’s strategic vision is to “create sustainable growth and differentiation by providing best or only products delivered through scalable digital platforms”. 

Mr Dixson said the acquisition of StockCo Australia will extend this strategy in Australia through the lender’s livestock lending platform.

The confirmation of this acquisition comes in the wake of Heartland that regulations could impact its lending volumes over the financial year. 

In February, the reverse mortgage provider released its results for the first half of the financial year, reporting that its home loan platform, which launched in October 2020, reached $218.5 million in the time to 31 January 2022. 

However, Heartland also stipulated that online home loans had slowed over January and February, which it attributed to credit amendments across Australia and New Zealand. 

This drop appeared to be dampened by growth in other aspects, such as reverse mortgages and its livestock lending, with its Sheep & Beef Direct platform lifting by $54.8 million over the period. 

[Related: Heartland announces new bank CEO]

Heartland completes StockCo Australia acquisition
Andrew Dixson
mortgagebusiness

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