A few years back, I waxed philosophical -- and frustrated -- over the lack of good investment opportunities in the booming New Zealand economy. Surveying the investing landscape, I saw opportunities for U.S. companies like Time Warner and Microsoft to avail themselves of Kiwi expertise in the fields of video gaming and movie animation by contracting with local wunderkind Weta Workshop. But as for actual New Zealand stocks that you and I can buy, there was basically Telecom of New Zealand
The good news is, it seems I'm not the only one who was piqued by this problem. The better news is that it's now possible to own a sizable chunk of New Zealand's premier industry: agriculture. A few days ago, tiny New York-listed Chinese ag company Agria
PGG works in the farming industry, basically acting as a market facilitator, advisor, and middleman to Kiwi farmers in the livestock, wool-raising, and crop-growing sectors. Agria does similar work in China, making this a good example of complementary businesses working together. Now here's where it gets interesting.
I have money; you have a business. Let's make a deal.
The knock against Agria has been that it's more a bank than a business. Agria competes with firms large and small, from local rival Origin Agritech
Foolish final thought
Granted, at its current valuation of $120 million I'm not yet convinced Agria is a buy. Even if it owned all of PGG, rather than just part of the 50.01% stake it's buying and sharing with a separate Chinese investor, the two firms would have reported a combined $3 million loss for the past 12 months. If Agria manages to fertilize its revenue stream with some synergies, however, it has a fighting chance of making some profits from this move down under.
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