Hancock Agriculture sells properties to Australian farming families

Gina Rinehart’s agricultural business secured an ‘excellent outcome’ through the sale, which included two properties not part of the original divestment plan.

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture and its joint venture partner S Kidman & Co have agreed the sales of eight cattle stations from its extensive portfolio, following a process that drew interest from a range of global investors.

The firms listed a large portfolio of properties for sale in 2021 in what was one of the largest farmland sales to come to market in Australia at the time. The portfolio was comprised of seven individual cattle stations covering 1.9 million hectares in total.

Of those, two properties remain listed for sale: the adjoining Riveren and Inverway stations, covering 555,400ha in the Northern Territory.

Tom Russo, executive general manager real estate, at selling agent Elders said in a statement: “There are… several investors currently engaged in the sale process who are motivated to acquire all or part of the aggregation should a lease arrangement be agreed with a suitably qualified counterparty over all or part of the combined stations. The assets therefore remain available to purchase, either as a single property or separately.”

The other properties have all been sold, along with a further two that were not originally up for sale.

The adjoining NT stations Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek, that together cover 796,134ha, have been acquired by Crown Point Pastoral, a joint venture with significant existing beef production interests in central Australia.

Also in the NT, the 171,000ha Willeroo Station was acquired by Brett Cattle, a family business with existing northern Australia cattle operations and a provider of veterinary services to the livestock industry in the region.

Aroona Station, which adjoins Willeroo, was purchased by the DiGiorgio family, which has wine and grazing enterprises in South Australia, while the 203,143ha Nerrima Station in Western Australia was bought by the Emmanuel family, a holder of other pastoral land in the state.

The transactions for these properties have settled and handover to their new owners has already occurred.

In addition, Crown Point Pastoral has entered contracts to acquire Phoenix Farm, a live export and quarantine feedlot facility near Katherine, NT, as well as Innamincka Station and Macumba Station. The latter two properties were not originally intended to be part of the sale process, but “received significant interest from multiple parties which allowed a timely sale to occur,” Elders said in a statement.

The purchase price and financial terms of each sale were not disclosed.

Elders said in a statement that the sale was “consistent with Hancock Agriculture’s strategy of divesting properties where it had already invested to improve them,” with significant investment made to improve the productivity and condition of each station.

Capital raised from the sales will be reinvested in Hancock Agriculture’s other agricultural operations. The firm said it had already purchased another property in Queensland with further opportunities under consideration.

“The high quality of these properties after investment by Hancock Agriculture and their management under its ownership was evident in the level of interest received and the feedback from multiple parties that visited the properties, praising the status of the properties and the condition of the cattle,” Russo said.

“This high level of positive interest was further reflected in a strong level of offers being received, with the result of several Australian farming families having been successful in acquiring these stations and expanding their enterprises. It really is exciting to see such a strong level of confidence and willingness to invest in the future of northern Australian beef production.”

A spokesman for Hancock Agriculture described the sales as an “excellent outcome,” with the firm, a division of mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Group, stating that it remained committed to Australian agriculture and intends to “retain and grow its remaining substantial portfolio.”