An un-named Queensland buyer has signed contracts to purchase large-scale Gulf of Carpentaria district grazing properties Wollogorang and Wentworth, owned for the past four years by wealthy Chinese businessman Xingfa Ma.
The founder and chairman of the Tianma Bearings Group paid a surprising $47 million for the 705,198ha leasehold and crown pastoral lease properties in July 2015, including 40,000 head of cattle. Some viewed the deal as the Australian pastoral property ‘sale of the year’ at the time.
A spokesman for Mr Ma’s TBG Agri Holdings Ltd told Beef Central that the sale represented a change of direction for the company, however it intended to retain its other Australian grazing assets in Western Australia.
The spokesman was not prepared to share a price or disclose the purchaser until the deal is finalised in coming weeks, but he confirmed that the buyer was from Queensland. The deal included about 30,000 head of Brahman cattle and comprehensive station plant.
“It could not have gone to better buyers,” he said.
The expressions of interest listing last August attracted a lot of interest throughout Australia and overseas, the TBG spokesman said.
Straddling the Northern Territory and Queensland border facing the Gulf, the aggregation comprises the 576,198ha Wollogorang to the west of the border, and the adjoining 129,000ha Wentworth station to the east.
The properties were sold to Mr Ma by Paul Szlotkowski, who operated Wollogorang for 30 years. He passed away in retirement on his boat in Darwin Harbour late last year.
Mr Ma in 2014 established an Australian subsidiary, TBG Agri Holdings, that went on to purchase other Australian pastoral assets, paying between $18m and $20m for one of northern Western Australia’s top cattle stations, the 6395sq km Balfour Downs and Wandanya in the Pilbara, including 15,000 head of cattle.
He also owns the 8000ha Emu Downs Station at Cervantes and the Great Southern’s Ferngrove Vineyards in Western Australia.
The TBG spokesman said the company had invested heavily in improving Wollogorang during its four years of ownership, including fencing, waters, poly pipe and yards infrastructure.
“We’ve turned it from a basic harvesting operation into a more efficient well set-up cattle enterprise,” he said.
Enjoying an 80km gulf coastline, there was talk early that Wollogorang and Wentworth might become the site of a major aquaculture project, but no progress was made in any development at the site.
The holdings were marketed through an Expressions of Interest campaign by Ray White Rural. Click here to view the marketing video.