Harold Mitchell sells WA cattle station for $70 million

Harold Mitchell sells WA cattle station for $70 million
Harold Mitchell sells WA cattle station for $70 million

Advertising industry veteran Harold Mitchell has sold his cattle station empire in Australia's Kimberley region in Western Australia for more than $70 million, at a time when pastoral property values have been rising sharply. 

The sale of Yougawalla Pastoral Company includes APN Outdoor chairman Doug Flynn's stake as well. A Chinese businessman is understood to have bought the cattle stations, the Australian Financial Review reported.

Yougawalla Pastoral Company includes three main cattle stations spanning more than 850,000 hectares with about 45,000 head of cattle.

Mitchell declined to comment on the deal to the AFR, but the paper said he has already received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. 

The Pastoral Lands Board of Western Australia is still to approve the transaction.

KPMG and ANZ had been appointed in 2015 by Mitchell to sell the pastoral station.

It was reported earlier that Mitchell intended to sell up to 49 percent of his cattle station empire in Western Australia.

Yougawalla Pastoral also leases the 161,000-hectare Louisa Downs, the 141,000 ha Bohemia Downs, the 80,000 ha Carranya Station and the 182,000 ha Lamboo Station, but none of these properties are part of the deal. 

The timing to sell couldn’t be better with pastoral property values rising sharply in the last few years. 

The latest index shows values have risen 9.3 per cent in the last year. Major cattle station operator Australian Agricultural Company reported a 7 per cent rise in the value of its vast rural property portfolio in full-year results released on Wednesday.

Mitchell started buying during the financial crisis, picking up the main Yougawalla station for about $10 million. In 2011, he snapped up the 274,000 ha Bulka Station adjoining Yougawalla for about $9 million.

Then in 2013 when the live export cattle trade had been smashed and the drought and prices were squeezing the cattle industry, Mitchell shelled out $4.3 mil­­lion for another massive cattle station – the 177,100ha Mar­garet River Station with 6,000 head of cattle.

Mitchell, who played a vital role in negotiations with Indonesia on the live export trade, decided to sell after splitting with his wife of 50 years.



Western Australia Cattle Station


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