Property: Strong auction demand results in solid sales for CPC cattle holdings

Jon Condon, 14/10/2016

THREE well-regarded central western Queensland grazing properties owned by Consolidated Pastoral Co sold at auction in Brisbane yesterday – all at rates regarded as ‘highly competitive’ in the current super-strong northern Australian property market.

The three holdings all sold under the hammer, injecting almost $18 million into CPC’s coffers, to be re-directed into further development in the company’s remaining extensive cattle holdings across northern Australia.

CPC will offer three central western Queensland properties as part of a capital re-diversion in early October,

CPC ofloaded three central western Qld properties by auction yesterday, as part of a capital re-diversion

The sale of the Mount Marlow and Gowan stations in the Blackall District and Cooinda Station, north of Winton, comprised only about two percent by land area of CPC’s total land portfolio, but were being offloaded as surplus to requirements.

By CPC’s lofty standards, the three properties put to market were ‘smaller’ holdings, with an average carrying capacity around 4000 head each. Completion is expected to take place in late 2016.

All were sold bare, providing good guidance on local district land values, and many local landholders were watching the sale process intently, to gauge current local values and market sentiment.

Here’s what happened yesterday:

Gowan Station

Gowan, an 18,077ha downs property 70km south of Blackall sold to Blue Sky Beef Pty Ltd, a business owned by an established Arcadia Valley beef producer for $7.2 million bare. The price equated to just below $400/ha, at the upper end of local recent values.

Gowan carries a mixture of developed gidgee country sown to buffel grass, lightly shaded Mitchell grass, lightly shaded pebbly gidgee country and flooded coolibah creek systems. The property can carry 3000 to 4000 cattle, with all paddocks watered by the property’s own reticulated bore system. Gowan was originally part of the CSR Pastoral portfolio, sold-off around 1985.

Cooinda Station

A 24,300ha property 70km north of Winton, Cooinda was bought at auction by local grazing family, Tom and Belinda McLeish for $5.5 million, or $226/ha ($91/ac). That price aligns closely with another recent strong Winton district sale of similar country, Kywong, which sold recently for around $89/ac or $220/ha, and is considered upper-end in the local property market climate.

Cooinda is ideally suited to growing and backgrounding cattle for northern and southern markets. With an estimated capacity of 3000 to 4000 cattle, it features a balance of Flinders and Mitchell grass with plentiful artesian water.

Mt Marlow

Mount Marlow, west of Blackall near Yaraka, is 73,100ha of country ideally suited to be run as a breeding and growing property. It was bought at yesterday’s auction for $5.2 million bare, or just over $71/ha by the Speed family’s Brigadoon Cattle Co, Taroom.

The property is Organically Certified, and can carry about 4000 head of mixed cattle. It has a 32km frontage to the Barcoo River, with extensive channels and permanent and semi-permanent waterholes. Diverse pastures include Mitchell, Flinders, Button, Buffel, prolific herbages, Blue Bush and Lignum.

Marketing agent Andrew Adcock from Ruralco said there had been solid pre-auction interest in all three holdings – exclusively domestic in origin, as the properties perhaps fell a little below the asset size typically sought by international buyers.

CPC chief executive Troy Setter said the sale proceeds would be reinvested for future growth in CPC, including in a range of operational and productivity initiatives at our northern properties to increase cattle and land efficiency.

CPC still has large areas of ‘under-developed’ land, in terms of stockwater and fencing infrastructure on its Barkly Tableland and Victoria River District grazing properties where significant productivity improvements can still be made.

“We want to re-invest the capital from the sale of the three Queensland properties into that development work,” Mr Setter said.

The original auction date was delayed because of unseasonal heavy rain over the July-August period which limited access for inspections.

Yesterday’s results follow an earlier sale of CPC Carlton Hill station on the fringes of the Ord River dam in WA’s eastern Kimberley to Chinese interests in a $100m deal, where CPC will get to lease back the majority of the holding not required for irrigated cropping development by the new owners.

There are apparently no further plans to offload more grazing land as part of the company’s capital re-allocation process.

Mr Setter said the sales would not have a significant impact on the balance of the CPC property portfolio, with further investment in productivity in remaining properties offsetting the loss of land area caused by the sales. Properties in the Territory identified with further development potential include Newcastle Waters, Ucharonidge, Auvergne and Bunda Stations, plus Isis Downs near Isisford in Central Queensland.

“Essentially, there won’t be loss in production or cattle numbers, but an increase in overall productivity,” Mr Setter said.

“We have identified several development projects across our northern properties that promise to show a good return on investment,” he said.

Despite the dispersal of Organically-certified Mt Marlow, CPC still retains the ability to produce Certified Organic cattle through its Nockatunga Station in the Channel country, suggesting a small organic production stream may continue within the overall enterprise.

Significantly, given recent discussion in property circles, CPC offered some flexibility in access to stock with the property deals, but none of the buyers evidently took up the offer.

Property commentators have recently made the point that unstocked, or under-stocked properties have been much harder to sell, in the current atmosphere of extreme high cattle prices and short supply.

  • Ruralco Property’s Andrew Adcock handled the sales.




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  1. LEX HEINEMANN JP 0417 191 491, 20/10/2016

    A very solid & encouraging result for beef cattle property investors. The very buoyant current cattle market & seasonal conditions see these long time rural investors at last receiving their proper rewards.

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