Boonoke, Peppinella and Wanganella for sale but only in one line

Boonoke, Peppinella and Wanganella for sale but only in one line
Boonoke, Peppinella and Wanganella for sale but only in one line

The birthplace of the modern Australian merino sheep is for sale, with the Wanganella, Peppin­ella and Boonoke sheep stations in southern NSW being offered at $330 million.

It is a Riverina pastoral ­empire that dates back to the 1880s under the FSF Falkiner group stewardship.

Confirmation came in The Australian that it has been quietly put on the market by its five owners lead by stockbroker Colin Bell.

The $330 million price secures a portfolio of 18 farms covering 226,000ha centred around ­Deniliquin, Hay and Coonamble 

Bell said ­Chinese companies were among prospective buyers.

He said the holdings were being sold because all its five part-owners — Bell and his two brothers Andrew and Lewis Bell from the Bell Financial group, Bell managing director Alastair Provan and US hedge fund manager Ray Dalio — were older than 70.

“We are selling all of the company or a share of it, but the properties will not be split up and sold separately,” Bell said.

“We are being selective about who we approach — they have to be high-value individuals or companies both here or overseas with an interest in Australian agriculture — and what we are selling here is a profitable business, not just individual farms.”

AFA released its financial results last week, showing the group had sales of $55m in 2015-16 and recorded a pre-tax profit of $25m.

Mr Bell said the group as a whole produced wool, cattle, sheep, stud rams, cotton, rice, cereal and pulse crops.

The paper reported it includes 11,000ha of high-value ­irrigated land used for rice and cotton, 60,000 megalitres of water entitlements from the Murrumbidgee and Murray river systems, 100,000 merino wool sheep and the homestead on Boonoke.

There is a covenant that stops the historic Wanganella and Boonoke sheep stations being sold separately or their sheep studs being ­dispersed.

Bell said it would take more than 50 years to put ­together a conglomerate of such quality as AFA’s holdings, with the combined business offering economies that have seen it make a profit 13 years out of the past 16.

“This is so different from Kidman with just its cattle,” Mr Bell said. “We don’t have to sell, and we are in no rush to sell; we will only be selling it as a (combined) business — these are all scale and ­trophy properties.”

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.

Sheep Station Merino


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