Hancock extends NT supply chain network with $24m Aroona purchase

Jon Condon, 06/03/2017

GINA Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has added another piece to its Northern Territory beef supply chain jigsaw puzzle, outlaying about $24 million to secure a large grazing holding southwest of Katherine to use as a depot facility for live exports out of Darwin.

The Flora River provides good permanent water on Aroona

The Flora River provides good permanent water on Aroona

Hancock Prospecting has completed the purchase of Aroona, a 147,000ha bock on the edge of the Victoria River District.

The deal, for the land component only was for $13.5 million. A second contract was written on the 14,000 Brahman cross branded cattle running on the property, although no price was disclosed. At a typical territory herd-scale valuation from branded weaners to aged cows of $750, it would value the cattle component at around $10.5 million, giving a total asset value of about $24 million.

Frontage to the all-weather Victoria River Highway was a key logistics feature in the purchase, and the property will be used in tandem with HPPL’s Phoenix Park registered live export depot facility nearer to Katherine, to assist timing opportunities for getting VRD-bred cattle to markets.

The permanent Flora River bisects the Aroona property, giving a high level of water security. Country is a mix of basalt and lesser quality Katherine red country. The block will run 15,000 head in a good season, and is currently in exceptionally good shape, after one of the best northern wet seasons in recent memory.

In a statement, Hancock’s Gina Rinehart said the company was interested in securing Aroona because it would complement existing investments in the north.

Being near the Phoenix Park export depot will assist in the wet season growing program for cattle from Hancock Beef’s Riveren and Inverway stations further west in the Victoria River District, as well as providing better market timing options for some of Kimberley cattle stations, she said.

Vendors John and Kate McLoughlin said they were pleased that Gina Rinehart had bought Aroona because they were “confident she would take good care of the land and her continuing investment in her stations is good news for Aroona and Australian Agriculture.”

The sale of Aroona marks closure for the McLoughlin family’s Jerambak Holdings NT cattle production interests, but they continue to run a large Queensland cattle operation at Rainbow Downs, near Rolleston, and Roxborough Downs, south of Mt Isa.

Since first investing in the NT cattle industry 11 years ago, the McLoughlins have progressively sold down their NT interests. Part of their East/West Mathieson aggregation was subdivided into three components, renamed Stapleton (60,000ha, now owned by Cloncurry, Queensland cattleman Dan Lynch); Aroona, 147,000ha sold this week to Hancock; and one other smaller block. The McLoughlins also owned Scott Creek, adjoining Mathieson to the east, also sold a couple of years ago.

In Hancock Prospecting’s statement, CEO Garry Korte said with continued investment, the company’s beef portfolio would grow, presenting greater economies of scale with an opportunity to increase stock numbers and productivity.

  • Colliers International’s Rawdon Briggs was sole agent for the sale.




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