China’s Donlinks enters bidding for Australia’s A$325m Kidman estate

The Chinese oil producer is teaming up with British Virgin Islands registered Genius Link Capital to submit a second-round bid for Australia's largest private estate on October 27, it told the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Donlinks Grain and Oil Company, one of China’s biggest vegetable oil makers, is teaming up with British Virgin Islands-based Genius Link Capital to enter the bidding for Australia’s largest private estate S Kidman & Co, expected to fetch A$325 million ($228 million; €205 million).

Donlinks, part of a Guangzhou conglomerate which also has interests in real estate and manufacturing, said it in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that it would submit a second-round offer for the Kidman estate on  27 October. The Chinese group said it would sign a memorandum of understanding to team up with Genius Link Capital, which was established earlier this year with $50 million of registered capital and two directors.

No additional details were given about Genius Link, but the British Virgin Islands has become a popular destination for China’s elite wanting to move their assets offshore.

Donlinks is the latest Chinese group to stake its claim on the Kidman estate, which covers some 11 million hectares and includes 10 working cattle stations. A consortium of developer Shanghai CRED, financial group Zendai and conglomerate Shanshan Group is reported to be interested in the properties, as is Shanghai Pengxin, which recently had its deal to take over New Zealand’s largest dairy farm blocked by that country’s government.

The Chinese oil producer has been struggling in the face of falling prices and has diversified its interests into fertiliser production. The company said it made a first half net loss of 29.2 million yuan ($4.6 million; €4.1bn), down from 340.7 million the previous year.

The sale process is being run by Ernst & Young on behalf of the Kidman family shareholders, with a winner expected to be announced later this year.