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Money Foreign owners help Australian farms 'flourish'

14:33  12 march  2018
14:33  12 march  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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The Consolidated Pastoral Company, a huge beef enterprise with Australian cattle stations covering about 5.5 million hectares, is a “great example” of how a local agricultural business "can flourish and grow" with support from foreign investment, according to the company’s chief executive.

Foreign owners help Australian farms ' flourish '. CPC said in a statement it had also developed the potential of the land through fencing and new watering holes, offering an opportunity for the next owner to "drive more value".

The company was formed by the late billionaire Australian businessman Kerry Packer 35 years ago with the purchase of a Northern Territory cattle station.© Supplied The company was formed by the late billionaire Australian businessman Kerry Packer 35 years ago with the purchase of a Northern Territory cattle station. The Consolidated Pastoral Company, a huge beef enterprise with Australian cattle stations covering about 5.5 million hectares, is a “great example” of how a local agricultural business "can flourish and grow" with support from foreign investment, according to the company’s chief executive.

Consolidated Pastoral, which has recently been advertised for sale and is generating speculation it could sell for as much as $1 billion, is tipped to attract interest from foreign investors.

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Farm values to flatline as commodity prices peak, rates and energy costs rise: valuers http at- australian -agricultural-company/news-story/9d09af5079327db411e981fabf82da64 … Foreign owners help Australian farms ' flourish ' https

Policy Agriculture Farming Farm Subsidies Australia New Zealand Protectionism. Blocking foreign competition, however, usually results in higher prices for agricultural goods due to a lack of competition. Farmers flourish down south. Not only were prices decreased, but previously ignored

The company was formed by the late billionaire Australian businessman Kerry Packer 35 years ago with the purchase of a Northern Territory cattle station. It now has 16 cattle stations in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia, as well as an 80 per cent stake in two Indonesian feedlots.

The Packer family exited the business in 2009, when it sold its majority stake to the English private equity firm Terra Firma. Some estimates have put the 2009 sale price at $425 million.

With Consolidated Pastoral now on the market its chief executive officer, Troy Setter, said that “under Terra Firma’s ownership, the business has been transformed from a cattle producer to an integrated quality beef and cattle supplier to international markets”.

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• Foreign ownership of Australian farms and rural land will only harm the Australian economy and is not in the national interest. Foreign owners are already setting up their own processing facilities on farms they purchase.

He also moved to reassure the market that Australian buyers would have the opportunity to participate.

“We have spent a lot of time and effort planning the process to make sure that Australian buyers are given every opportunity to participate,” he said.

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A new Australian farm registryreveals nearly 15 percent of rural land is foreign owned, withBritish investors dominating and Chinese a distant fifth,allaying popular fears that Chinese rural investment maythreaten food security.

We are trying to address the issue of foreign Ownership , and ensure that Australian land & Farms remain in Australian hands, We need your Help . © COPYRIGHT 2018, stopforeignownership.com.au.

Australian farmers have benefitted from recent conditions.© Brendan Esposito Australian farmers have benefitted from recent conditions. Mr Setter said $50 million had been invested in the business, about 350,000 hectares of land had been opened up and carrying capacity had been increased by over 50,000 head on the properties.

“We have increased productivity through the development of land including watering holes and fencing as well as the application of technology and genetics,” he said.

“There is a great opportunity for the next owner to invest and drive more value through the development of CPC’s stations. We have an additional 3.1 million hectares of land that could be developed.''

Mr Setter said it was “still pretty early days” in the sales process, which could take months.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review in 2009 the founder of Terra Firma, Guy Hands, said he saw the private equity firm's investment in Consolidated Pastoral as having a seven to 10-year horizon.

"Most private equity firms have put off investing in agriculture," he said at the time.

"Our view has always been to do investments that are contrarian. So our investors expect us to do things that are unusual - it's what we do," he said.

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What farmer would not take the higher bid? What difference does it make if the farm is foreign owned unless the owner cuts Australian consumers out of the market – and in this latter scenario what’s to stop the Aust Govt natonalising farms if there was a crisis?

The Australian farming industry offers employment in processing, packaging, and transportation of goods as well as traditional farm jobs. Duties include shed work yard work cleaning and helping in workshops and on farms .

Given that just over nine years have elapsed since the founder of Terra Firma made those comments, it seems the original timeline for the cattle business is being followed.

A meteor burns up in the atmosphere over the Spell Bore Yards on Newcastle Waters Station in the NT's west Barkly region as part of the annual Geminoid meteor shower.© Glenn Campbell A meteor burns up in the atmosphere over the Spell Bore Yards on Newcastle Waters Station in the NT's west Barkly region as part of the annual Geminoid meteor shower. A recent Knight Frank advertisement about the sale said Terra Firma “is offering the business for sale as a whole or in parts”.

It’s understood that first round bids are due next month.

With the business likely to attract interest from foreign investors, it could potentially pose another test for Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

But the possibility of it being sold “in parts” means that it could generate more potential interest from local buyers than might otherwise be the case.

The sale of the massive S Kidman and Co property ran into trouble over FIRB issues before eventually being sold to a company that is two-thirds owned by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting. The remaining thir do the joint venture is owned by Chinese company Shanghai CRED.

The scale of the Consolidated Pastoral Company's operation is also enormous. At about 5.5 million hectares, the cattle properties cover about 55,000 square kilometres. By way of comparison, Switzerland covers about 41,300 square kilometres and Tasmania about 68,400 square kilometres.

The huge beef cattle operation has come onto the market at a time when the Australian agricultural sector is very buoyant, and both beef prices and international demand for beef are strong.

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