A SWISS investor has made a successful pre-auction offer for large Northwest Queensland breeding property, Neumayer Valley, in a deal Beef Central understands to have topped $41 million.
The buyers are understood to be connected with the Pilatus aircraft manufacturing company based in Stans, Switzerland, which lists several large Australian cattle industry stakeholders among its customers for its high-performance turbine-driven, pressurised aircraft.
The Swiss company is understood to own at least one other Australian agricultural landholding, a 3000ha property in Victoria, but this is its first investment in northern Australia’s extensive cattle industry.
Neumayer Valley, a 143,000 ha breeding and growing property about 120km south west of Normanton, was placed on the market in March by owner, Australian Pastoral Group. APG purchased the station three years ago, while the northern industry was still in recovery mode from the 2011 live export closure, from Queensland businessman and live exporter Syd Faithful for about $30 million.
The fact that a pre-auction deal has been struck well in advance of the intended auction date of 25 May suggests there may have been an element of competitive tension emerging for the property. The suggested $41.5 million pricetag is regarded as ‘very competive’ in the current market among well-informed onlookers.
There have been at least five inspections of Neumeyer Valley since it came on the market, including corporates and large Central Queensland private operators. A Malaysian party also showed interest.
Paraway Pastoral Co, which operates nearby Armraynald and Gregory Downs, showed earlier interest, while the Menegazzo family’s Stanbroke Pastoral Co operates Donors Hill and Augustus Downs, which adjoin Neumayer to the south.
All this may have prompted the Swiss interests to mount an attractive bid before a bidding war could arise at auction, onlookers suggest.
The deal is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
The sale of Neumayer Valley is the latest in a series of large cattle transactions to foreign investors in Queensland’s Gulf region over the past nine months:
- In July last year, Chinese industrialist Zingfa Ma paid an unheralded $47 million for Wollogorang Station, west of Burketown, including 80km of Gulf of Carpentaria coastline.
- Esmeralda Station near Croydon was sold in February to Gunn Agri Fund, understood to be funded by European institutional interests, for a price around $40 million. Gunn Agri has not yet disclosed the origin of its financial backing.
With about 60 percent of Neumayer Valley being good quality downs country, and supporting an excellent Brahman herd numbering around 15,700 head, it is regarded as a significantly better grazing property than either Wollogorang or Esmeralda. The holding features an abundant natural waters including a single frontage to the Leichhardt River on the western boundary and double frontage to the Alexandra River which includes a permanent 19km long waterhole at the homestead.
APC sells three holdings
Neumayer Valley is one of three choice cattle land assets currently being sold currently by Australian Pastoral Group.
APG has already sold Kinbeachie aggregation at Goondiwindi to the Cargill-owned entity, One Tree Investments.
APG is also in the process of selling the noted southern NSW property Deltroit Station at Gundagai through an expressions of interest process, closing on May 19. Deltroit was purchased in 2013 by APG for $15.5m from former Lumley Insurance chairman Anthony Crichton-Brown.
APG was founded in 2012 by former Macquarie Pastoral Services managing director Alan Hayes, buying $45m worth of rural property during 2013. It’s understood there are four institutional investors backing APG, including the Michigan-based Municipal Employees’ Retirement System and a fund based in Switzerland.
APG was not prepared to offer a reason for the dispersal of the properties, beyond using the term, ‘opportunistic market timing.’
- Agents for the Neumayer sale were Dick Allpass and Lorin Bishop from Elders.