Mt Schanck sells for more than $40m

Thomas Foods, the largest family-owned meat processing company in the country, has bought the sheep and cattle station in one of South Australia’s biggest agribusiness deals.

Described as one of South Australia’s ‘most iconic sheep and cattle stations’, Mt Schanck has sold for more than A$50 million ($38.2 million; €32.2 million) within a month of being offered on the open market, according to CBRE, the real estate firm which oversaw the sale.

“The iconic nature of the property, its reputation and its presentation by the Evans family, were key factors in drawing the attention of a strong field of buyers,” CBRE regional director Danny Thomas said, referring to the seller. “These factors combined to elicit a very strong offer prior to the close of the Expression of Interest, which the vendors chose to accept given it was on cash terms with little conditionality and included the retention of their loyal staff.” The property was sold one week before the EOI campaign closed on November 30.

CBRE did not disclose the identity of the buyer other than to say that it is “a well-known Australia family.” It also did not disclose the exact sale price. The firm could not be immediately reached for comment.

Family business

Media reports, however, stated that the property was bought by Thomas Foods International, a meat-processing company that is the largest 100 percent family-owned business in its market segment. According to Thomas Foods’ website, the company has annual revenue of more than A$1 billion.

The property, which spans about 2,870 hectares and includes close to 5,000 megaliters of ground water entitlements, was sold on a walk-in/walk-out basis. The transaction, one of the largest agribusiness deals in the state of South Australia, also included more than 2,000 Angus cows with calves and heifer replacements, along with around 2,500 Composite ewes with lambs at foot, as well as fit-for-purpose plant and equipment.

Of the 2,870 hectares, around 700 hectares have been developed to center pivot irrigation, used for lucerne-based pastures, fodder cropping and hay production, with occasional third-party use for potatoes and other cash crops under short-term leases.

“The vendors chose to accept the offer given it was on cash terms with little conditionality”
Danny Thomas, CBRE

The property also includes a four-bedroom residence built around 1864, as well as staff residences, a six-stand shearing shed, shearer’s quarters and Pratley sheep and cattle yards.

Located near Mount Gambier, a key regional center, Mt Schanck station is close to the Port of Portland and the sale yards at Mount Gambier and Hamilton.

It is the first time Mt Schanck Station has been sold on the open market. Its most recent owners, the Evans family, bought the property in 2005 in an off-market deal from the Clarke family, who had owned Mt Schanck for more than 140 years. The previous family had bought the property in 1861.