20 April 2016
by Matthew Cranston

S.Kidman & Co agrees $370.7m sale to China's Dakang

The board of Australia's largest landholder S. Kidman & Co has entered into an agreement with Chinese based Dakang Australia Holdings and ASX-listed Australian Rural Capital Ltd to sell the company for $370.7 million.

The company, which covers almost 11 million hectares of cattle stations – including the world's largest, Anna Creek – was offered for sale this time last year through EY, but a foreign bid to buy the company was blocked by Treasurer Scott Morrison in November because of national interests.

The latest deal is conditional upon Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

S. Kidman & Co chairman John Crosby said the board was pleased to have reached agreement on the sale terms with Dakang and Australian Rural Capital Ltd.

"The Consortium and Kidman have complied with all requests that have been made by the FIRB and we believe the sale will secure the long-term future of the Kidman enterprise," Mr Crosby said.

"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."

"The significant investment proposed by the Consortium will see an increase in production and the expansion of international markets for Kidman beef, the majority of which is already exported."

Founded by the original "Cattle King" Sir Sidney Kidman 116 years ago, the company was expected to sell for at least $325 million but attracted much higher bids from a host of foreign and domestic parties including trucking magnate Lindsay Fox.

Other foreign groups included Donlinks Grain and Oil Company, one of China's biggest vegetable oil producers in joint venture with British Virgin lslands-registered Genius Link Capital. Chinese group GLAM have offered a bid as high as $370 million.

more to come...