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Chinese tycoon buys Australia’s fourth-largest beef processor

The A$120m deal by Archstone Investment, an agri investment firm owned by the Hui family, comes less than a year after the failed sale to another Chinese investor.

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The A$120m deal by Archstone Investment, an agri investment firm owned by the Hui family, comes less than a year after the failed sale to another Chinese investor.

Hui Wing Mau, a Hong Kong property billionaire, has acquired 51 percent of Bindaree Beef Group for about A$120 million ($95 million; €80 million).

Family-owned and based in New South Wales, Bindaree is Australia’s fourth-largest beef processor, capable of handling at least 300,000 cattle a year. Upon announcing the deal today, chief executive Andrew McDonald said the company had been sold in a “joint venture” with the Hui family and its agri investment firm, Archstone Investment.

Bindaree already has export offices in the US and China, as well as marketing and distribution facilities in Sydney and Melbourne through its Sanger Australia division. Proceeds will be used to grow the company’s current operations and develop its strategy of supplying premium branded beef products to global and domestic markets.

The deal comes less than a year after the failed A$140 million sale of 45 percent of Bindaree to China’s Delisi Group. At the time, market observers conjectured that negotiations had become more complicated after Australia’s rising cattle prices made a dent in beef processors’ profitability.

Archstone Investment is hardly the first Chinese firm to set foot in the Australian beef market. In April 2016, Genius Link Assets Management formed a tie-up with Queensland-based Australian Country Choice to jointly develop a new integrated beef and livestock supply chain business into Asian markets.

Four months later, Shanghai Zhongfu bought the Carlton Hill cattle station from Consolidated Pastoral Company – Australia’s largest private cattle holding and a portfolio company of UK buyout firm Terra Firma – for about A$100 million

Bindaree’s new backers will take comfort in the fact that Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board has already approved the deal. Last year, the government blocked successive attempts by China-based Shanghai Pengxin to acquire S Kidman, the largest cattle ranch Down Under, saying its was “contrary to the national interest.”

S Kidman was purchased a few months later by Australian Outback Beef, a consortium of Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, and Shanghai CRED Real Estate.