Australia blocks sale of country's largest farm to China
April 29 2016 10:35 AM
Australian farm
The ranch is owned by S Kidman & Co in central Australia


The proposed sale of Australia's largest cattle operation to China was "contrary to the national interest," the government said on Friday. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he blocked the sale of the 101,000-square-kilometre ranch owned by S Kidman & Co in central Australia to a Chinese-led consortium.

Morrison earlier rejected the sale of the same property in November to a different Chinese syndicate, citing concerns that part of it abutted a secret weapons-testing range.

He said the property represents the largest private land sale in history, comprising 2% of Australia's agricultural land.

The property - made up of 10 separate cattle stations - was expected to sell for about US$284mn.

"Given the size and significance of the Kidman portfolio, I am concerned that the acquisition of an 80% interest in S Kidman & Co Ltd by Dakang Australia Holdings Pty Ltd may be contrary to the national interest," Morrison said.

"I have concerns that the form in which the Kidman portfolio has been offered as a single aggregated asset, has rendered it difficult for Australian bidders to be able to make a competitive bid."

The proposed sale of the historic Australian cattle station to China had raised concerns among both liberal and conservative politicians.

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