S. Kidman and Co to sell up for $370.7m

Australia’s largest landholder S.


Kidman & Co has agreed to sell the company to China’s Dakang Australia Holdings and locally listed Australian Rural Capital (ARC) Ltd for $370.7 million.

Under the deal, Dakang Australia plans to acquire 80 per cent of Kidman while ARC is looking to take the remaining 20 per cent stake, subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Kidman chairman John Crosby said the consortium and Kidman had complied with all requests made by the FIRB and said the sale would secure the long-term future of the enterprise.

“We believe Dakang Australia and ARC will be good custodians of the business and this transaction will provide a solid platform for growth and, at the same time, an opportunity for Australians to participate in Kidman’s future,” Mr Crosby said in a statement.

He said the proposed investment would lead to an increase in production and the expansion of international markets for Kidman beef, the majority of which is already exported.

Dakang Australia and ARC plan to jointly manage and develop the Kidman business.

Dakang director Gary Romano said Australian Rural Capital would provide expertise in the local agriculture sector.

Mr Romano and ARC spokesman James Jackson said the consortium wanted Kidman to become an even stronger player in Australia’s beef cattle sector, and transform it into a global brand for beef and related products.

Kidman, which has cattle stations covering 101,000 square kilometres in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, produces grass-fed beef for export to Japan, the USA and South East Asia.

The Kidman board is recommending shareholders accept the Consortium’s offer subject to no superior proposals.

A previous foreign bid to buy the company was blocked by Treasurer Scott Morrison in November because of national interests.

Anna Creek station in South Australia will be separated from Kidman’s other businesses prior to the completion of any acquisition.

Dakang Pasture Farming is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of about $3.75 billion.

Shanghai Pengxin Group owns 55 per cent of Dakang Pasture Farming and has New Zealand dairy interests.

The Kidman offer is scheduled to close on August 5.