Packhorse Pastoral Company has agreed to sell two of its assets to Hancock Agriculture, the private agribusiness owned by Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart.
Hancock Agriculture will acquire the 8,371ha Ottley Station, near Inverell in New South Wales, and the 10,029ha Moolan Downs Aggregation, near Roma in Queensland. The purchase price was not disclosed but a market source familiar with the sale process confirmed it was in the region of A$80 million ($52 million; €49 million).
Hancock said in a statement that the purchase was consistent with its “strategy of acquiring first-class properties to support growth in our annual turnoff of 2GR-branded full-blood and purebred Wagyu.”
The sale of the other asset in Packhorse’s portfolio, Stuart’s Creek, also located near Roma, has not yet been finalized. In a statement, Packhorse said that “confidential negotiations are in the final stage” over the sale of Stuart’s Creek and declined to comment further on the process.
Agri Investor understands that QIC has had a close look at the Packhorse portfolio and has been involved in the sale process, and has been one of the leading contenders for the Queensland assets. Market sources said that these assets would be a natural fit for QIC’s existing northern Australia-based cattle grazing portfolio, managed under the banner of the Northern Australia Pastoral Company, as well as its focus on carbon sequestration.
QIC has been trying to raise capital for the Queensland Natural Capital Fund, its inaugural closed-end fund focused on agriculture, with a target of at least A$500 million. NAPCo is planned to be a seed asset for that vehicle.
QIC declined to comment on the Packhorse portfolio when contacted by Agri Investor earlier in the sale process.
The settlement of Ottley Station and Moolan Downs is set to take place on June 6, Packhorse said.
In a statement on the sales of Ottley and Moolan Downs, Packhorse Pastoral Company managing director Geoff Murrell said: “Packhorse has quickly become a recognized leader in soil regeneration and sustainable farming practices and accordingly, has attracted keen interest in our magnificent properties. The sale of Ottley Station and Moolan Downs has met our financial expectations.”
The firm launched with a splash in mid-2021 and rapidly acquired the three assets, with an ambition to ultimately grow its assets under management to A$1.5 billion. The assets were listed for sale in November 2022 following the death of co-founder and executive director Tom Strachan earlier that year.