Foreigners banned from buying $350 million S.Kidman farm

Foreigners banned from buying $350 million S.Kidman farm
Foreigners banned from buying $350 million S.Kidman farm

The Federal Government will block the sale of Australia's largest cattle property portfolio, S. Kidman & Co, to foreign buyers.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement he had decided that an acquisition of the company by a foreign buyer would be contrary to the national interest and he would not authorise it.

The family-owned S. Kidman & Co is Australia's largest private landholder with properties covering 101,000 square kilometres in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Around $350 million had been sought.

Founded in 1899 by Sir Sidney Kidman, it is now one of the country's largest beef producers with a herd of 185,000 cattle, supplying markets in Japan, the United States and South-East Asia.

"Consistent with the recommendation from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), I have decided that the acquisition by foreign investors of S. Kidman and Co. Limited would be contrary to the national interest and shall not be authorising the sale to proceed as currently proposed," he said.

"Importantly, around 50 per cent of the Anna Creek pastoral lease is located in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) in South Australia.

"The WPA weapons testing range makes a unique and sensitive contribution to Australia's national defence and it is not unusual for governments to restrict access to sensitive areas on national security grounds.

"Given the size and significance of the total portfolio of Kidman properties along with the national security issues around access to the WPA, I have determined, after taking advice from FIRB, that it would be contrary to Australia's national interest for a foreign person to acquire S. Kidman and Co. in its current form.

"I note that following communication of my decision all bidders to acquire S. Kidman and Co. Limited have elected to withdraw their FIRB applications prior to my Final Order being formalised."

S. Kidman & Co's managing director, Greg Campbell told the ABC he was surprised by the Government's decision to block the sale.

"To be honest I didn't think this would be the outcome.

"I knew there would be concerns, however cyber espionage around the world seems to operate quite successfully in its own right without the need to acquire an outback cattle property like Anna Creek."

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Firb Cattle Station


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