Gina Rinehart ponders joint bid with Chinese Shanghai CRED for S.Kidman & Co pastoral empire  

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is poised to enter the race for the S. Kidman & Co pastoral empire, alongside Chinese conglomerate Shanghai CRED Real Estate, with a joint bid expected to top $300 million.
The billionaire’s entry into the sales process would be the first serious ­attempt by an Australian during the most recent battle over ownership of the giant cattle portfolio.
Shanghai CRED, controlled by Chinese billionaire Gui Guojie, was a major party in the consortium that was twice knocked back by Scott Morrison in its ­attempt to buy Kidman.
The Australian revealed last week that Shanghai CRED had split from Shanghai Pengxin, which had assembled the initial bidding consortium, and a third partner, Australian Rural ­Capital.
It is understood that under the deal being considered, Mrs Rinehart’s firm Hancock Prospecting would take a two-thirds stake in Kidman if the bid were successful, with Shanghai CRED taking the remaining third.
Mrs Rinehart owns several cattle properties, and joins other wealthy business operators, such as Andrew Forrest, Kerry Stokes and Gerry Harvey, in buying swaths of rural Australia.
Hancock Prospecting will likely have to compete with Shanghai Pengxin, which is closing in on its own deal to secure a local partner in an attempt to ­address national interest concerns raised by the Treasurer, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and several federal crossbenchers.
It is unclear whether Hong Kong fund Genius Link Assets Management remains interested, having originally bid aggressively in competition with Shanghai Pengxin. The family of trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox has also expressed interest in the Kidman portfolio but did not lodge an offer during previous bidding.
Shanghai CRED’s decision to split from the Shanghai Pengxin consortium followed Mr Morrison’s rejection of a $371m bid in April. That refusal led the Kidman family to delay the start of yet another attempt to sell the country’s largest private landholding, with the company ­expected to begin a formal bidding process late this year after initially inviting offers in July.
A partnership with Hancock Prospecting would provide greater certainty for Shanghai CRED in bidding for Kidman, with Mrs Rinehart close to Mr Joyce and other government figures. Earlier this month, she­ ­appointed former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella head of government and media relations for Hancock Prospecting.
Ms Mirabella yesterday said: “We don’t comment on commercial matters.”
It is expected the bid would be short of the $371m offer rejected by Mr Morrison, but would provide the Kidman family with more confidence of a sale.
Mr Guojie, an influential businessman in Shanghai, would likely be able to guarantee access for live cattle exports from the Kidman properties, which span about 101,000sq km.
Ms Rinehart has begun to aggressively expand her cattle holdings in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, most recently swooping on two pastoral stations spanning more than 550,000ha owned by Indonesian firm Japfa Santori. That deal, finalised last month, added the Riveren and Inverway stations to a portfolio that includes the Liveringa and Nerrima stations, as well as the 400,000ha Fossil Downs Station in the Kimberley ­acquired last year for as much as $30m.
Mr Stokes last month added Mount House near Halls Creek to his holdings, which ­include the Napier Downs station in the Kimberley purchased last year.
Mr Forrest owns five cattle properties in northern Aus­tralian, while Mr Harvey last year took a half-stake in Victorian dairy operator and cattle breeder Coomboona Holdings.
Mrs Rinehart has previously fuelled speculation about her interest in the Kidman properties by refusing to deny she would lob a bid for the company if an ­opportunity arose. In November, The Australian reported Hancock Prospecting had made an informal approach to EY, which is running the sales process, but did not table a formal bid.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rosemarie says:

    Gina does not have Australia’s future in heart, she will eventually sell as there will be a profit involved and money is her priority. The Australian Government must STOP selling out Australia, enough is enough. It won’t be long and China will own Australia and what a sad day that will be.


  2. Megan says:

    There’s not much industry left in Australia – compared to China, none at all. Our only asset to carry and protect Australia’s future is our land and our ability to utilise it for primary production, this is our only edge in the future. Selling significant parcels of primary production land to foreign interests will go down in history as the time when Australia made its worst decision yet with far reaching consequences and totally irreversible.


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