Chinese-owned Rifa Salutary puts beef portfolio up for sale

The portfolio in NSW and Victoria will be sold as a whole or in parts and is expected to fetch more than A$150m.

Rifa Salutary, the Australian subsidiary of China’s Zhejian Rifa Holding Group, has placed its portfolio of beef pastoral properties up for sale covering approximately 44,000 hectares.

The firm is selling three properties in New South Wales: the 23,977-hectare Cooplacurripa Station near Nowendoc; the 8,613-hectare Middlebrook Station near Nundle; and the 4,391-hectare Ashleigh Station in Gravesend. It is also selling two properties in Victoria, the 4,390-hectare Kulwin Park Station in the southern Mallee region and the 2,405-hectare Blackwood Station in the state’s Western District.

The five named properties are operational hubs that comprise 14 separate aggregated properties in total.

The portfolio is expected to fetch well over A$150 million ($105.5 million; €93.6 million), according to CBRE Agribusiness director Col Medway, whose firm is managing the sale.

“The vendor has done a very good job aggregating a number of farms to bring together an enterprise of significant scale that will attract interest from all sections of the market,” he told Agri Investor, adding that Rifa had chosen to sell the properties now to capitalize on the capital uplift seen since it started investing in Australian farmland in 2014.

Rifa will prefer to sell the portfolio as a whole, Medway added, but that all offers and possibilities would be considered. Interest has come from both domestic and foreign buyers.

Medway said the “only headwinds” facing the Australian beef sector currently were dry weather conditions in northern NSW where some of the portfolio is based. The area where the Victorian properties are located have had a good season, he added.

Zhejiang Rifa Holding Group vice-president Bobby Jiang, who is also a director of Rifa Salutary, said the company felt the time was right to sell following the completion of capital expenditure and improvement programs across the portfolio that had added value, as well as to capture underlying capital growth.

Rifa Salutary chief executive Cameron Hall said recent on-farm investment had put the properties in a good place, adding: “There is still work to be done – which gives a purchaser good promise – but the foundations and team are in place to take the business forward.”

Zhejiang Rifa Holding Group has investments in the specialist machinery and textiles sectors, as well as aviation, finance and agriculture.