THE state's historic Van Diemen's Land Company is close to finalising a $180 million capital raising deal after signing memorandums of understanding with three parties just before Christmas.
Van Diemen's Land Company chief executive Mike Guerin said yesterday that the deal was now only subject to due diligence and he was confident that the parties would find no surprises.
The investment would provide the company the capital to embark on its biggest expansion so far to secure a financially viable future for its Woolnorth property on Tasmania's far North-West tip as the county's largest dairying operation.
Mr Guerin has consistently refused to identify the three parties involved in final negotiations to become a major investor in the company _ the oldest Royal Charter company still operating in the world.
But it is understood at least one of the three is Chinese, the government-owned China Investment Corporation, whose representatives visited a number of North-West dairy operations late last year with a view to investment.
Mr Guerin said yesterday that Van Diemen's Land Company's major shareholder, New Zealand's New Plymouth Council, was ``quite relaxed,'' on whether it remained as a major investor.
``We are still not sure whether they [New Plymouth] will relinquish a lot or some of their shares,'' Mr Guerin said.
He said that once a company had signed heads of agreement documents it was not usually too long before the deal was done.
``We are lucky that all three interested parties have an interest in agriculture and dairy,'' he said.
The planned expansion of the company's giant dairying operations at Woolnorth has started, while it waits for pending government approvals, Mr Guerin said.
Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam was pleased to hear that the end of negotiations over the major investment in Woolnorth were in sight.