S. Kidman board agrees to sale
by Erica Shaffer
ADELAIDE – The board of S. Kidman and Co., Australia’s largest cattle company, agreed to sell its assets to Dakang Australia Holdings and Australian Rural Capital (ARC) Ltd. Dakang is a unit of Shanghai Pengxin Group Co.
Published reports state the transaction is valued at A$370.7 million ($288.9 million). Under the terms of the deal, Dakang would own an 80 percent stake and ARC would own 20 percent. The sale is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board and Scott Morrison, Australia’s treasurer.
An earlier bid by Shanghai Pengxin to buy Kidman failed after the Australian government blocked the sale on concerns a takeover by a foreign company posed a conflict with the country’s national interests. Approximately 50 percent of the pastoral lease is located in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WAP) in South Australia. The WAP is used for military weapons testing and is the largest land testing range in the world. Anna Creek, one of Kidman’s cattle stations, covers part of the testing range. It is the largest single property holding in Australia and represents about a quarter of Kidman’s total property.
In a restructured deal, Kidman agreed to offer the Anna Creek station to its existing shareholders or an Australian company. ABC Rural reports the prospective buyer is South Australia-owned Williams Cattle Company.
Kidman owns 185,000 head of cattle, and its pastoral leases cover land in three states and Australia’s Northern Territory. Sidney Kidman founded the company in 1899. Today, Kidman produces grass-fed beef for export.