Chinese developer eyes Australian cattle companies

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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SHANGAI, China – Shanghai Pengxin Group Co. Ltd., a private diversified conglomerate, made acquisition offers to two of Australia’s largest cattle producers, S. Kidman & Co. and Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC), according to an Australian Financial Review report.

Pengxin Group has more than 40 subsidiary companies which include interests in animal husbandry and acquisitions of foreign agriculture firms. The company’s proposed deal is valued at $720 million.

The largest privately owned beef producer, CPC has 5.7 million hectares of land across Australia, enough to support approximately 375,000 head of cattle. For the 12 months ended March 15, the company reported revenues of A$88.5 million ($61.32 million), a 38 percent increase over 2014 revenues of A$64 million ($44.35 million), according to the company’s annual report.

S. Kidman and Co. Ltd. owns 185,000 head of cattle, according to the company’s website. Kidman produces grass-fed beef for export. The company also has pastoral leases covering 101,000 sq. km. in three states and Australia’s Northern Territory.

The proposed acquisition is another sign of expanding trade between Australia and China. The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area has opened new export opportunities for Australian meat producers. Overall, China is the leading consumer of agricultural products from Australia. However, privately owned firms like Pengxin Group are looking to capitalize on positive consumer perception of Australia as a producer of premium and safe food products.

In its 2013-2014 annual report, the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board said China overtook the United States as the largest source country for approved proposed investment for the first time. China, at A$27.7 billion ($18.71 billion), was the largest source country for approved proposed investment in 2013‑14, followed by the US with A$17.5 billion ($12.13 billion).
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