THE Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) is going alone with construction of its $85 million Darwin abattoir without a joint venture partner.
It will fund construction from its own balance sheet and expects the plant to begin operating late this year.
AACo has just completed stage one civil works for its Top End meatworks with final design and tenders for the next stage of the build now nearing finalisation.
Managing director David Farley said AACo had had numerous discussions with potential joint-venture partners but would only consider such a deal if the other partner brought strategic value to the project.
The big beef cattle business wanted a partner - on acceptable terms - with experience in areas such as logistics or distribution capability.
"AACo is unwilling to consider a pure equity investment from third parties without this sort of strategic alignment," Mr Farley said.
The company's proposed sale of "Brighton Downs" station and the smaller "Adelong" property in Queensland would allow AACo to redeploy capital from non-strategic land assets to higher value-adding beef processing assets in Northern Australia, consistent with its business strategy.
"AACo has received good interest from other northern pastoralists who are willing to commit supply to the abattoir and also from product off-take customers," Mr Farley said.
"The proposed Darwin abattoir will be a transformative project for the northern Australian beef sector, providing a world-class facility to enable product to be shipped to Asian markets faster and more cost effectively."