ALMOST one quarter of the total land area of the S. Kidman & Co pastoral operations will be offered separately for sale, following a decision to pare-off the Anna Creek Station portion from the sale portfolio.
The move is apparently designed to resolve, or counter Goverment reservations about both national security concerns surrounding Anna Creek’s location, and the sheer size of the entire Kidman asset falling into foreign hands.
A statement issued just minutes ago says existing shareholders will be given the first opportunity to purchase Anna Creek, the world’s largest cattle station by land area at 23,677sq km, and retain it under separate administration.
S. Kidman & Co managing director, Greg Campbell, confirmed that the northern South Australian cattle station would be sold to existing shareholders or other Australian buyers, separately to the remainder of the company, which would remain for sale as a going concern.
Mr Campbell said that while excluding Anna Creek was undesirable in an operational sense, it was required to address the national security and portfolio land area concerns of the Commonwealth Government (see Beef Central’s earlier story).
Last month the Foreign Investment Review Board, through the Treasurer, cited concerns over the portion of Anna Creek Station within the occasional use “green zone” of the Woomera Prohibited Area, and further concerns over the land area within the Kidman portfolio of remote arid zone properties.
The removal of Anna Creek means the area of land being sold is reduced by one quarter, and the Woomera Prohibited Area and its defence interests are removed and substantially buffered from the remaining land area being offered.
S. Kidman & Co is a cattle producer and, while significant, its cattle herd represents less than one percent of the Australian cattle herd, this morning’s statement points out. The balance of the operations of S. Kidman & Co is intended to be sold as a going concern with the existing head office, managers and employees remaining with the business.
More than 99pc of the remaining land area being sold is pastoral leases, meaning the ownership of the land will remain in Australian hands. The S. Kidman & Co company was founded in 1899 when Sir Sidney Kidman took over the pastoral business he and his brother had established some years earlier. The majority of the shares in the unlisted public company remain owned by Kidman descendants and their extended families.
The sale of Anna Creek would occur contemporaneously with the sale of the remainder of the business.