TWO extensive Kimberly region cattle properties owned by Gina Rinehart’s Kidman and Co and Hancock Pastoral have sold for a combined figure of around $100 million.
Prominent Alice Springs businessman Viv Oldfield has paid around $70 million for Kidman’s Ruby Plains Station aggregation.
The 480,000ha calf factory Ruby Plains and 316,000ha outstation, Sturt Creek boast reliable wet seasons and abundant pastures and were offered with about 25,000 head of Brahman cattle.
The approximate sale price of $70m is subject to final cattle numbers, which won’t be known until the completion of the second round of mustering, which is currently underway.
The sale is also subject to ministerial consent by the Western Australian government. While sales exceeding 500,000ha are not prohibited, the concentration of ownership must be deemed to be in the public interest according to WA law.
Ruby Plains is one of the first sales from Hancock Agriculture and S. Kidman & Co’s sell-down of eight properties spanning 1.9 million hectares announced in April, allowing them to focus on other agricultural and cattle opportunities. Some see the divestment as a sign of Hancock’s desire to move away from live export to domestic beef production.
Ruby Plains is Mr Oldfield’s first foray into Western Australia.
Two years ago, he added the 324,000ha Maryvale Station, 107km south of Alice Springs, to his extensive landholdings in Central Australia. The $15m sale included 10,000 head of cattle.
Maryvale is located adjacent to Mr Oldfield’s 1641sq km Deep Well Station, 60km south-east of Alice Springs.
In addition to Maryvale and Deep Well Stations, Mr Oldfield jointly owns the adjoining Lilla Creek Station on the SA/NT border, 10,850sq km Andado Station (situated on the western edge of the Simpson Desert), 5936sq km Horseshoe Bend Station (160km from Alice Springs), and 6600sq km New Crown Station (460km south of Alice Springs).
A second Kimberley station owned by Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture has sold to Johnathan Emanuel for around $30 million. The 203,142ha Nerrima Station, fronting the Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley, was also offered on a walk-in walk-out basis including more than 15,000 head of cattle.
The Emanuel family, who founded and later sold the WA livestock exporter, Emanuel Exports, is not new to the Kimberley region.
In the 1880s, the Durack and the Emanuel families together claimed over one million acres along the Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley and a similar amount along the Ord River in the East Kimberley.
In the early 1900s, the family owned Fitzroy Crossing’s Gogo Station and Noonkanbah Station located further to the south east.
With the wet season approaching, the remaining Hancock Agriculture and S. Kidman & Co assets still listed for sale could take some time to move. They include:
- Extensive Victoria River District (NT) cattle stations Riveren and Inverway, purchased by Hancock in 2016 from Indonesian owner, Japfa Santori. The properties are located southwest of Katherine covering 550,000ha, with a herd of 40,000 cattle.
- 147,000ha Aroona Station, near Katherine, bought in 2017 for $24m including 15,000 head of Brahman cattle.
- 171,000ha Willeroo Station, adjoining Aroona 120km west of Katherine, which Hancock purchased the same year from Indonesian owners Agri International for $33m including 21,000 branded Brahman cattle and full working plant.
- 3500ha Phoenix Park live export depot and holding facility near Katherine, which was purchased by Hancock in 2016 from Steve and Cindy Bakalian, NFC.
Elders, which is marketing the property portfolio via an expressions of interest campaign, refused to comment on either the buyers or the prices paid.