Chinese Group Buying Chunk of Australia

Board needs to approve sale of S. Kidman holdings
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2016 11:40 AM CDT
Chinese Group Buying Chunk of Australia
A man feeds cattle on his farm near Poochera, Australia.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

About 1.3% of Australia might be sold to foreign buyers after all. Australia's fifth-largest cattle producer, S. Kidman, which has been trying to get rid of 40,000 square miles of farmland since last summer, has agreed to sell its holdings to China-based Dakang Australia and Australian Rural Capital for $287 million, reports the Wall Street Journal. Dakang would take an 80% stake, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The sale still needs to be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, which blocked a deal in November over a cattle station that borders a military weapons testing range. However, that station was left out of the sale this time around.

"The consortium and Kidman have complied with all requests that have been made by the FIRB," Kidman's chairman says, per Reuters. The FIRB will have until July 26 to decide on the deal, and a July 2 election may play a role in the outcome, notes the Australian Financial Review. In the meantime, the president of Dakang's major shareholder promises not to bring in Chinese workers. "We like to work locally with people, we want to learn local experience and local skills," he says. Despite the smaller land area, the sale price jumped $15.5 million since November because of competition from Australian bidders. The excluded cattle station is available for purchase by existing shareholders or Australian buyers. (More Australia stories.)

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