Big corporates lift our agricultural stocks
MAJOR PLAYERS – THE TOP END OF TOWN
WHEN it comes to staking a claim on the Australian farming landscape, mining magnate and Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart (above) has led the charge.
Ms Rinehart has put together an impressive portfolio of properties totalling about 2.2 million hectares in recent years in addition to her two-thirds stake in Outback Beef, the joint AustralianChinese consortium that paid
$386.5 million for the nation’s biggest landholder, S Kidman and Co, in late 2016.
Her buying spree continued into last year, snapping up the
151,000ha Aroona Station at Katherine in the Northern Territory last March, followed by Maydan Feedlot in Warwick in Queensland last June, the
171,000ha Willeroo Station at Katherine in October and a
21,000ha aggregation of four properties near Roma in Queensland in December.
Her biggest holding outside the Kidman portfolio is the
550,000ha Inverway and Riveren Stations in the Northern Territory’s Victoria River district, which she purchased for about $60 million in 2016.
ANDREW ‘TWIGGY’ FORREST
FROM mining to dining, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, (above), sees a great future in agriculture.
And he’s among the top-end-of-towners putting his money where the mouths are.
Mr Forrest and wife Nicola have made a strategic investment in the northern Australian beef industry in recent years and their Minderoo Group now oversees about 1.28 million hectares across six properties in their home state of Western Australia.
On it they run about 50,000 cattle.
The Forrests purchased his former family property, the
240,000ha Minderoo Station, near Onslow in the Pilbara in
2009, before adding the
490,000ha Nanutarra-Uaroo in 2012.
(225,000ha) at Carnarvon followed in 2015, a year before the 273,000ha Minilya Station, near Coral Bay, was added.
Minderoo Group also leases the 56,000ha Urala Station, just north of Minderoo, with
70km of coastline.
The Forrests paid a reported $40 million for Harvey Beef, Western Australia’s largest beef processor, in 2014.
HASSAD Australia will place a greater emphasis on lamb and grain markets following a year of rationalisation during 2017.
The Qatari sovereign wealth fund, founded in 2009 and headed up by John McKillop, (pictured right), owns nine farming aggregations totalling more than 150,000ha.
It offloaded five aggregations last year: the 125,000ha Clover Downs Merino property at Cunnamulla in Queensland, the 2632ha Kaladbro Station at Strathdownie, as well as aggregations at Warren in NSW, and at Burra and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Hassad’s investments currently comprise farms in Victoria, NSW and Western Australia.
Its biggest farm is the
47,677ha Telopea Downs Station at Telopea in western Victoria.
It also owns the 8244ha Barton Station at Moyston, which it purchased in 2011, and the 7448ha Englewood Plains at Wagga Wagga.
There are three other NSW properties – Old Bundamar
(22,562ha) at Trangie, Urawilkie (25,932ha) at Coonamble, and Gindurra
(8516ha) at Canowindra – with the remaining three properties in Western Australia totalling
CONSOLIDATED Pastoral Company could well become Australia’s billion-dollar baby if plans to sell the operation are realised.
CPC is Australia’s largest privately owned beef producer, running 400,000 cattle over
16 properties and more than
5.5 million hectares. UK-based Terra Firma Capital owns the majority stake in the business, which they bought from the Packer family in 2009, and they officially placed it on the market in March. Troy Setter (pictured above) is the company’s chief executive.
The bulk of the CPC business is in the Northern Territory, with large holdings also in Queensland and Western Australia.
Its flagship properties include the 1.03 million hectare Newcastle Waters Station at Barkly in the Northern Territory, which it has owned for 35 years, and the 852,300ha Nockatunga Station at Thargomindah in Queensland. CPC also owns the 28,000-head Lampung and 7500-head Medan feedlots in Indonesia.
Its most recent property purchase came last year when it acquired the 3941ha Emu’s Nest property at Biloela in Queensland for $8.3 million.
ICONIC Riverina pastoral operation FS Falkiner has a long and proud history.
And it remains the jewel in the crown of the Bell family’s Australian Food and Agriculture, despite the company, or a share of it, being offered for sale last year.
At the time, there was talk the company could fetch as much as $330 million.
Colin Bell, of Bell Securities (pictured right) is one of five owners of AFA, which stretches over 224,138ha around the Conargo, Hay and Coonamble districts of NSW.
The Conargo properties total 122,935ha, the Hay properties encompass 57,624ha while Wingadee and Netherway at Coonamble cover 44,846ha. The operations include 11,000ha of irrigated cropping,
22,000ha of dryland cropping, 4000 hereford breeding cows and 79,000 merino breeding ewes.
A feedlot licensed to carry
5000 cattle and 15,000 sheep was recently built on Peppinella. The Bell family purchased the FS Falkiner properties from News Limited – publisher of The Rural Weekly – in 2000.
SIR MICHAEL HINTZE
SIR Michael Hintze (above) could well be Australian agriculture’s knight in shining armour.
The British-Australian businessman, who has a net worth of about $1.8 billion, owns more than 65,000ha across 16 farms in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
The founder of the
$12 billion CQS global fund manager, Sir Michael started putting his MH Premium Farms portfolio together in
2007 and now owns a diverse range of properties growing lamb, wool, beef, sugar, wheat and cotton.
Last year he snapped up the showpiece 1951ha western Victoria property Cheviot Hills at Penshurst for
$10 million after buying the
2573ha Deltroit Station at Adelong in southern NSW in
Deltroit recently hosted a dinner for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cambridge while they were in Australia to attend the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Most of Sir Michael’s farms are in southern NSW, including the 3568ha Burrangong at Young, the
969ha Glaisnock at Young, Rippling Water at Tumbarumba
(2105ha), Springfield at Boorowa (4917ha) and Watson Park at Yarra, near Goulburn. MH Premium Farm’s biggest property is the
12,548ha Marshmead at Walgett in northern NSW. THE big are getting bigger - but everyone is benefiting.
That’s the picture of Australia’s farm ownership to emerge from a special investigation by NewsCorp Rural, speakheaded by the Rural Weekly’s sister paper The Weekly Times.
We have revealed more than 170 farming individuals and corporations that own more than 900 properties across Australia.
Irrigated properties and citrus and almond crops are the hottest tickets in town as corporate heavyweights battle to grab a slice of the growing agriculture export market.
Meanwhile, wool properties have emerged as a favourite as the fibre’s price hits record levels.
And as the race to increase scale and capacity intensifies, foreign, corporate, and domestic family interests are pushing rural property values sky high.
“Farm values would be up at least 20 per cent in the last couple of years,” said David Bryant, managing director of Rural Funds Group which owns about $687 million worth of farms and agriculture assets across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
The admission comes as special investigation by NewsCorp Rural into who owns the nation’s farms shows growing demand for irrigated cropping properties in southern Australia, particularly along the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers.
“We’ve seen the market basically double (in recent years),” CBRE Agribusiness boss Danny Thomas said.
Mr Thomas said among of the hottest crops were almonds and citrus, with “very, very strong demand” for dry and irrigated row cropping.
“There are huge volumes of capital looking for that,” he said.
Meanwhile, strong commodity returns are driving renewed interest in pastoral areas, with wool prices and beef exports lifting returns.
Partly Chinese-owned Outback Beef is Australia’s biggest landholder, with its S Kidman and Co properties spanning more than eight million hectares, followed by the listed Australian Agriculture Company (seven million hectares), the North Australian Pastoral Company
(6.1 million hectares) and the UK-owned Consolidated Pastoral Company (5.8 million hectares).
Investment companies such as Rural Funds and the US-backed TIA-CREF are also building on their outlays, with portfolios growing to
664,000ha and 235,000ha respectively.