Vietnamese company buys three of CPC’s northern cattle stations for $135m – ABC Rural
A Vietnamese investment company has bought three cattle stations from the Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC) in a deal reported to be worth $135 million.
The Northern Territory’s Auvergne and Newry Stations in the Victoria River district, south-west of Darwin, and Western Australia’s Argyle Downs Station were purchased by Clean Agriculture and International Tourism (CAIT), an agriculture and finance company from Vietnam.
The transaction, which is still subject to regulatory approval, includes more than 50,000 head of cattle, plus station plant and machinery.
In total the properties cover more than 740,000 hectares of land.
In a joint statement with the stations’ new owners, CPC chief executive, Troy Setter, said the properties had attracted a strong market value.
“The divestment of this cluster of three stations at a premium to net asset value reflects the quality of the stations and the investments that have been made in infrastructure in recent years,” he said.
“Our station management and staff look forward to working with CAIT to continue to run the properties and manage the land.”
CPC was Australia’s largest private cattle producer and was officially put on the market, as whole or in parts, in March 2018.
The company’s Nockatunga Station in Queensland was sold in October 2018, and the company was still looking to sell its remaining cattle stations.
“The remainder of the CPC portfolio is high quality and large scale, with more than 3.9 million hectares of land across 12 cattle stations, with good geographic diversity as well as a valuable business in Indonesia,” Mr Setter said.
New owners signal cattle and cotton farming focus
CAIT aims to diversify the stations from purely running cattle, with a spokesperson confirming plans to “continue to invest in the properties and diversify into high-value cropping and non-pastoral use”.
NT Farmers industry development officer Andrew Philip was among key industry stakeholders consulted by the group during the pre-sale process.
“In discussions with them during the purchasing process they were certainly keen on looking at cropping as well as continuing the cattle operation,” Mr Philip said.
“They’re looking at what might be viable to grow on those places, and they certainly see a range of crops fitting into that cropping system.
“The one that obviously jumps out at the moment with the trials in Kununurra is cotton, but they’re looking at other options.
Mr Philip said he expected the company would also seek to invest in infrastructure projects that support the development of a broadacre cropping venture.
“They understand it is going to take investment, and there’s a lot of work to go through to start that process,” he said.
“They’re looking at wherever the markets are, so a lot of the market for broadacre products like cotton is an export market, but they’re also looking at what they can do to improve their beef business as well.
“What this international investment can bring to the Territory will allow for local producers to run off the back of their investment, and get viable industries up and running.”