Another piece of Gina Rinehart's station selloffs has fallen into place with confirmation today that Hancock Agriculture and S. Kidman and Co have entered into contracts for the sale of Phoenix Farm in the Northern Territory and South Australia's Innamincka Station and Macumba Station to Crown Point Pastoral.
A joint venture between the Oldfield and Costello families who have significant beef production interests in central Australia, Crown Point Pastoral has already completed a deal to purchase Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek Stations as part of the Hancock divestment process.
Phoenix Park is a strategically located feeding, depot and farming operation located near Katherine in the Northern Territory which has the capacity to turn off up to 45,000 head of cattle per annum.
Ms Rinehart bought Phoenix Park from the Bakalian family in 2016.
A statement released by the selling agent, Elders, confirmed Innamincka and Macumba were not originally intended to be part of the sale process but received "significant interest from multiple parties which allowed a timely sale to occur".
"Completion of the sales above will occur once approval from the relevant pastoral land regulator in South Australia is received," the statement read.
"The sale of these properties is consistent with Hancock Agriculture's strategy of divesting properties where it had already invested to improve them by focussing on specific areas, including improved animal welfare and employee safety, the use of technology and innovation and genetic improvements across the herds."
The latest deal leaves just Riveren and Inverway Stations in the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory available for purchase.
These adjoining properties are considered iconic and were developed by the Underwood family who moved to the territory in the 1950s. Elders said the vendor remains "flexible" in their approach to the sale of these properties.
The following sales have already been announced and settled as part of the Hancock divestment. Elders said the purchase price and specific terms for each sale remains confidential.
- Aroona Station - Acquired by the DiGiorgio family who have substantial wine and grazing enterprises primarily in the south east of South Australia.
- Nerrima Station - Acquired by the Emmanuel family based in west Australia who have historically held significant pastoral holdings in Western Australia.
- Willeroo Station - Acquired by Brett Cattle, a family business with substantial existing Northern Australia cattle operations and provider of veterinary services to the Northern Australia livestock industry.
Elders Executive General Manager Real Estate, Tom Russo, confirmed that the sale process had drawn interest from a global field of investors and noted that ultimately all the successful buyers are established experienced Australian agribusiness operators.
"When considering the structuring of the sale campaign, a key priority of Hancock Agriculture was to ensure that all potential buyers were given the opportunity to visit the properties," he said.
"The high quality of these properties after investment by Hancock Agriculture and their management under its ownership was evident in the level of interest received and the feedback from multiple parties that visited the properties, praising the status of the properties and the condition of the cattle."
"This high level of very positive interest was further reflected in a strong level of offers being received, with the result of several Australian farming families having been successful in acquiring these stations and expanding their enterprises.
"It really is exciting to see such a strong level of confidence and willingness to invest in the future of northern Australian beef production from such successful and well credentialled Australian family owned businesses.
"They are well positioned to help to feed our neighbours in Asia and beyond, who need our high quality protein produced in clean environments to feed their own populations, a need growing exponentially".
A Hancock Agriculture spokesperson confirmed that Hancock Agriculture was delighted to have entered into the transactions with experienced Australian producers, stating "this is an excellent outcome which has ensured that the stations will continue to be operated under good, experienced stewardship by quality industry participants who share our dedication to Australian agriculture, and to our culture, that "happy healthy cattle are the best cattle".
We wish all the buyers well for the future, and are proud of our investments and management to significantly improve each of these properties prior to these sales".
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