Hewitt Cattle buys two NT pastoral assets for $50 million

Hewitt Cattle buys two NT pastoral assets for $50 million
Hewitt Cattle buys two NT pastoral assets for $50 million

Pastoral firm Hewitt Cattle Australia has made its largest cattle station purchase to date with two acquisitions in the Northern Territory for about $50 million.

Hewitt Cattle will take two central Australian pastoral assets, Ambalindum Station and Numery Station, about 140 kilometres east of Alice Springs, covering 650,000 hectares with an estimated carrying capacity of 20,000 head of cattle, reported the Australian Financial Review.

Late in 2015, Hewitt Cattle attracted the Foreign Investment Review Board’s scrutiny for its purchase of three cattle properties from Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) in Queensland. The sale got the regulator’s attention because Hewitt Cattle is partially owned by Canada's biggest pension funds, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board. 

Hewitt Cattle Australia chief executive Mick Hewitt confirmed the latest deals to AFR and was cited as saying, "this acquisition means we are well-positioned to access multiple markets throughout Australia, including both live export and processing. In particular, we are drawn to the prospects of accessing the burgeoning southern Australian live export trade to China”. 

In addition to the properties, the deal includes about 15,000 head of cattle as well as several assets from the property vendor, Tim and Emily Edmunds' Hale River Pastoral Company.

These assets include extensive livestock freight assets, staff accommodation and administrative headquarters located in Alice Springs, and a small pastoral asset used as a spelling complex for livestock transitioning to South Australian markets.

"In our view, Ambalindum is one of central Australia's iconic assets and will ultimately act as a cornerstone breeding operation for HCA," Hewitt said.

"The property is highly regarded within the region, as is the quality of its herd."

Hewitt said the property will supply high quality stock back to the company's eastern seaboard assets and markets. The deal will also bring the company's total holdings to more than 1 million hectares and 75,000 head of cattle.

The Canadian fund backing the HCA, PSP, manages $115 billion in assets and seeks investment returns for the pension plans of the Canadian Public Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force.

Northern Territory Rural Roperty

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