RENEWED optimism in the cattle market resulted in a growing number of substantial beef property transactions across Australia last financial year.
The relentless rise in cattle prices that started around July last year pushed demand for properties right across the board, attracting both domestic and international buyers.
In this week’s property review, we pause to present a state-by-state snapshot of the defining property sales we have reported over the past 12-month cycle – and pick our winner as 2015-16 grazing property transaction of the year.
Please note, however, that this is not a definitive list, as other significant properties have been sold in off-market deals. It is however interesting to look back over the past 12 months at the prices and size of the more significant cattle properties that have changed hands.
- August 2015 – WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart bought the iconic Kimberley cattle station Fossil Downs for $30m. The 394,000ha property near Derby, with a herd of 15,000 head, expanded Ms Rinehart’s stake in the state’s cattle industry. In 2014, her company Hancock Prospecting paid $40 million for a 50 percent stake in the 450,000ha Liveringa and Nerrima Stations, also in the north-west.
- August 2015 – The 380,000ha Napier Downs station, located 400km east of Derby was sold to Perth business tycoon Kerry Stokes’ private holding company for between $23m and $30m. The station features an excellent network of watering points and has a carrying capacity of 20,000 head of Red Brahman cattle, including 8000 breeders.
- April 2016 – Tanami Rural negotiated what is believed to be WA’s biggest-ever pastoral property transaction – the extensive SAWA grazing property aggregation including 395,000ha Moola Bulla near Halls Creek; 260,000ha Mt Amhurst also near Halls Creek; 206,000ha Beefwood Park near Fitzroy Crossing; and 178,000ha Shamrock Station near Broome for $100m to Adelaide-based advisory firm Agrify, representing overseas interests.
- July 2015 – Chinese billionaire Xingfa Ma (owner of a major ball bearing manufacturing company Tianma Bearing Group) purchased the 705,700ha Wollogorang and the neighbouring Wentworth Stations listed by CBRE for about $47 million. The two cattle stations on the NT/Queensland border back onto the Gulf of Carpentaria with an extensive beach frontage, and included 40,000 head of cattle. An obvious pick as the single best cattle property deal in Australia for 2015-16, from a vendor’s perspective. The purchase added to Mr Ma’s significant portfolio of Australian properties including Balfour Downs, Emu Downs and Wandanya Station in Western Australia.
- November 2015 – Territory Rural sold the 560,000ha Murray Downs and 265,000ha Epenarra Stations to Filipino businessman, lawyer & property developer Romeo Roxas for more than $20m. The two properties are located 350km north of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Australian Green Properties, owned by Mr Roxas, owns land around Cobar in central NSW.
- December 2015 – The 100,000ha cattle breeding stations Walhollow and Cresswell Downs in the Northern Territory’s Barkly Region, due north of Brunette Downs and Anthony Lagoon, were sold for a reported $100m ($56m land, plus 50,000 breeding Brahman & Brahman-cross calves and equipment) to Singapore-based retail magnate Brett Blundy and pastoralists Adrian and Emma Brown.
- February 2016 – The 406,000ha North Queensland property, Esmeralda Station with 30,000 head of cattle was sold by Queensland Rural to the Sydney-based Gunn Agri Partners for $40 million. Located 280km north of Richmond, Esmeralda has been used as a calf factory carrying 20,000 breeders plus followers in a decent season. In December 2015, Gunn Agri purchased three southern Queensland cattle properties for $11m.
- May 2016 – Elders sold 143,000ha Neumayer Station to a Swiss investor (connected to the Pilatus aircraft manufacturing company) for $41.5m. The Gulf district breeding and growing property, 120km south-west of Normanton, features 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. It was offered with 15,560 branded cattle plus followers and an extensive list of station plant.
- May 2016 – Macquarie Group’s Paraway Pastoral Co purchased Western Grazing’s Rocklands station, a 678,000ha calf factory breeding property near Camooweal on the Barkly Tableland and the 1.02 million hectare growing and finishing property Tanbar in south-west Queensland for $148m. The sale included 47,500 head of cattle.
NEW SOUTH WALES
- November 2015 – Colliers International sold the historic 4637ha Tongy Station at Cassilis, in northern NSW. With a carrying capacity of 40,000 DSE, the property was widely considered as one of the finest in the district for its deep rich black soils, high level of productivity, water system and its historic Victorian sandstone homestead. It was the first time it had been sold in almost 100 years and remained in family hands after selling to a Sydney-based member of the extended Baillieu family for $20m.
- December 2015 – Colliers sold the 10,000ha Glencoe Station at Mendooran in NSW for $31.5m (bare) to mining magnate Gina Rinehart for her Wagyu beef operation. The holding is less than 20km from her Dubbo district grazing properties Boogadah and Caigan (purchased in December 2014 for $25m) which boast one of the world’s largest Wagyu cattle herds.
- December 2015 – Elders sold one of the larger cattle properties in NSW, the 22,548ha Cooplacurripa Station with 8000 head of cattle. Located 45km north of Gloucester, it was purchased by Rifa Salutary, the Australian arm of China’s Zhejiang Rifa Holding Group, for $32m.
- November 2015 – Elders sold the 1643ha property Larnoo at Yea, 91km north-east of Melbourne, for a reported $11m to Vaughan National Constructions & Cahill Transport. The holding runs a 900-cow herd plus follower cattle grazing on regularly fertilised and over sown pastures, a mix of phalaris, rye, clovers and natural grasses. Soils include fertile Goulburn River flats to lower hill country.
- December 2015 – Elders sold 1894ha high carrying livestock enterprise Kuleah/Quamby East at Woolsthorpe in south-west Victoria to Colin McKenna from Midfield Meats for more than $15m. The large, fully-integrated parcel of highly developed, productive rural land located in the reliable high rainfall Warrnambool region. With a carrying capacity 40,000 DSE. The property compliments Mr McKenna’s existing beef, sheep and dairy operations.
- February 2016 – The Western Districts pastoral holding Beckworth Court was sold by Inglis Rural. The 2400ha property, at Clunes via Ballarat, reportedly sold for the $15m (WIWO) asking price to Macquarie Bank’s Paraway Pastoral Co. It was described during the marketing campaign as one of the most dynamic mixed livestock (Merino and beef cattle) and farming operations in the region, carrying 1200 breeding cows and progeny.
- August 2015 – The 1706ha grazing property Nallamanna at Conmurra, in the state’s south-east, sold for $9.5m to a local grazier.
- March 2016 – Elders sold the 1167ha property Elgin, at Clay Wells, for $6.5m (bare) to a local grazier. Described as some of the best developed, advanced grazing land in the state’s south east, it carries 900 cows plus calves.
- April 2016 – The historic 3500sq km Mt Lyndhurst Station, 350km north-east of Port Augusta, was sold by Landmark Harcourts to the Litchfield family, who own the neighbouring 2,200sq km Mundowdna Station, for $7.05m.