The MacLachlan family’s Jumbuck Pastoral Company appears to have stolen the march on IPO candidate STAG Beef to emerge as the likely buyer of blue-ribbon Victoria River District holding Killarney Station.
For several months STAG Beef (or Staples and Agricultural Global Beef Investment), chaired by former Queensland treasurer Keith De Lacy, has shaped as the buyer most likely to secure Killarney as it worked towards achieving an ASX listing and associated $70 million capital raising.
STAG Beef had signed contracts to buy Killarney and neighbouring Birrimba station in the VRD and Willeroo and Scott Creek Stations near Katherine.
However, ongoing delays to its fund-raising process and planned float meant it had been unable to pay the non-refundable deposits required to ‘consummate’ those contracts.
That effectively left the door open for another buyer to swoop, which Jumbuck Pastoral Company now appears to have done.
A Jumbuck Pastoral Company spokesman told Beef Central the company would not be making public comment on the rumoured sale.
However reliable property industry sources told Beef Central late last week that contracts have been signed directly between Jumbuck and Dutch shipping magnate Peter Vroon, a major shareholder of Wallco Pastoral which owns Killarney.
One source who asked not to be named said the deal was not necessarily a fait accompli, with contracts signed but money yet to change hands, which could still leave the door open for STAG Beef to secure the property.
For his part, STAG Beef chairman Keith De Lacy remains of the opinion that STAG Beef’s tilt for Killarney is not necessarily dead and buried.
“It is still on the table, but we haven’t been able so far to put a non-refundable deposit down because we haven’t had our underwriting approved,” Mr De lacy told Beef Central.
“We’re still hopeful we can acquire it if we can get the underwriting, and it will be about the price.
“We had agreed on everything, the price, the arrangements and everything, but it hadn’t been consummated, and from out point of view it would be a pity if we lost it.”
If STAG was to lose Killarney, it would be been as a considerable blow to its IPO and capital raising aspirations.
Mr De Lacy conceded that outcome would force the group to review its entire plans.
“We’ve got great investor interest, our problem has been moving quick enough to do the deal,” he said.
“It is very difficult to get a prospectus together and to get investor interest, if you haven’t got the properties properly nailed down.
“So yes, we found that more difficult than we expected in the first place, but nevertheless, there is a great appetite for investment in Australian agriculture and in Australian beef.”
Jumbuck Pastoral Company runs sheep and cattle on 12 properties across South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia, including four properties running 40,000 cattle in the live export zone of the Kimberley region of northern WA.
After failing to sell at auction in August 2012, the 5515 square kilometre Killarney and Birrimba Station aggregation was placed into receivership in January last year before owner Wallco Pastoral was able to complete a successful refinancing.
Along with Mr Vroon, other shareholders in Wallco Pastoral which owns Killarney and Birrimba are believed to include Filipino Marco Lorenzo and Brisbane-based Felix Wildin.
The late John Quintana was also a shareholder of Wallco in 2001 when it bought Killarney from the late Brian Oxenford’s Western Grazing.
The aggregation was offered with 41,000 mixed Brahman cattle when it was put up for auction during the Brisbane Show in August 2012. At the time the selling agents indicated that the Wallco partners were seeking to go their own way, leading to the decision to dissolve the partnership and market the property.
At auction the aggregation was passed in on an auctioneer’s bid of $30 million.
View earlier Beef Central articles relating to Killarney here:
- Property: Killarney auction adds to VRD grazing land shift – June 2012
- Killarney auction result symptomatic of broader livex rigor – August 2012