Beef producer S. Kidman & Co. is up for sale, offering would-be buyers of Australia’s biggest private landholder the opportunity to own assets spread across the remote Outback including a ranch that’s bigger than New Jersey.
Family shareholders, who hold 98 percent of the company founded in 1899, are selling livestock, plant and property, the Adelaide-based company said in a statement. The sale includes all the stations, including Anna Creek, the world’s largest cattle property, according to the company. The ranch is bigger than the Garden State and twice the size of Jamaica.
Beef exports from Australia are at a record as farmers boost slaughter rates and cattle prices rallied in February to an all-time high. Overseas investors and Australian miners including Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.’s founder and the country’s richest woman are expanding into food production to benefit from rising demand in Asia. S. Kidman & Co. was founded by Sidney Kidman, who left home at the age of 13 to work as a drover, and it’s now owned by his descendants, according to the company’s website.
The sale represents a decision “to capitalize on the present demand for quality Australian agricultural assets,” Managing Director Greg Campbell said in the statement. “Many of the family have other existing investments in Australian agriculture and elsewhere and the sale will allow them to convert long-term capital gains into cash to support their other businesses and investments.”
The company’s assets, including cattle stations, cover more than 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles) in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia. Kidman has a herd of 155,000 branded cattle and supplies 1.3 percent of Australia’s boxed-beef exports, according to the statement. South Australia’s Anna Creek covers 23,677 square kilometers compared with New Jersey’s 21,250 square kilometers, according to the U.S. state’s website.
Overseas investors have boosted their presence in Australia to meet rising demand for food. Saputo Inc., Canada’s biggest milk processor, controls Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. has full control of Emerald Grain Pty. Bunge Ltd. is investing in a grain-export terminal on the east coast. Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd. and Thailand’s Mitr Phol Sugar Corp. own Australian sugar assets.
Gina Rinehart last year purchased a 50 percent share in two ranches in Western Australia’s West Kimberley and is planning a A$500 million ($384 million) investment to supply infant formula to China. Andrew Forrest, the billionaire founder of iron ore producer Fortescue, last year acquired Harvey Beef, Western Australia’s only licensed beef exporter to China.
Australia’s Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, which measures prices at saleyards in the country’s east, rose 0.4 percent to A$4.335 per kilogram on Thursday. Prices reached a record $4.512 in February.