DomaCom lauds Morrison’s Kidman decision

DomaCom lauds Morrison’s Kidman decision
DomaCom lauds Morrison’s Kidman decision

Crowd funding firm DomaCom has welcomed the announcement by Treasurer Scott Morrison that the proposed sale of the Kidman Station to a Chinese consortium is “not in the national interest”.

The Kidman Station comprises 16 pastoral properties including outstations and supporting properties in breeding, feedlot and cropping. It is spread across Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia and is home to 185,000 cattle.

The Kidman land portfolio is the largest private land holding in Australia, with 1.3 per cent of Australia's total land area.

“Given the size and significance of the Kidman portfolio I am concerned that the acquisition of an 80 per cent interest in S. Kidman & Co Limited by Dakang Australia Holdings Pty Ltd (Dakang) may be contrary to the national interest,” Morrison said last week in a media release.

DomaCom CEO Arthur Naoumidis said it was “pleasing” that the government had heeded public sentiment on the $370 million sale and had reached a “preliminary finding” to reject the bid by Dakang Australia Holdings. The company has until 3 May to respond.

Morrison had earlier rejected a bid by a related Chinese company, the Penxing Group.

Late last year, DomaCom launched a book-build to keep Kidman Station in Australian hands and has attracted pledges of more than $70 million from 5,000 retail investors.

“What the DomaCom campaign clearly demonstrated is that there is genuine public interest in keeping the iconic Kidman pastoral station in Australian hands, and that ‘mum and dad’ investors want to have a stake in this country’s agricultural heritage,” he said.

“Opinion polls have shown that ordinary Australians are deeply concerned about retaining our agricultural land, as well as the businesses that flow from them.”

Naoumidis says Morrison’s announcement could breathe fresh life into the DomaCom offer.

“Hopefully it will encourage more retail investors to come forward to invest in Kidman. Aside from the issue of keeping it in Australian hands, the investment reality is that under our proposal the land will be separated from the operating business, with the land expected to return about 8-9% to our investors.”

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