Premium station sale on the horizon

Premium station sale on the horizon

Agribusiness
The sale of the Jubilee Downs and Quandun Downs pastoral leases, near Fitzroy Crossing, is expected to be completed by mid-August. Media reports have said the deal is worth about $30 million. Photo: Elders.

The sale of the Jubilee Downs and Quandun Downs pastoral leases, near Fitzroy Crossing, is expected to be completed by mid-August. Media reports have said the deal is worth about $30 million. Photo: Elders.

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The sale of the 221,408ha lease is expected to be completed by mid-August.

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FORMAL offers on the reported $30 million for Jubilee Downs and Quandun Downs, near Fitzroy Crossing, are imminent, with the prospect of a sale drawing closer.

The adjoining stations, spanning a total of 221,408 hectares, are run as one operation - Jubilee Pastoral Company - with a combined carrying capacity of 11,000 head of cattle.

Jubilee Pastoral Company is co-owned by Keith and Karen Anderson, who are also the managers, and United States billionaire Edward Bass, who is a silent partner.

Elders real estate specialist and selling agent Greg Smith said 15 expressions of interest were received, which has been narrowed down to a list of eight potential, serious buyers.

Mr Smith has been in the Kimberley recently conducting inspections on the properties.

He said the eight eligible buyers were a mix of demographics and "are all serious players in the Australian cattle industry".

"We have interest from overseas investors, corporate families and companies," Mr Smith said.

"Not all have assets already in Australia but all are associated with the northern cattle industry of Australia."

Mr Smith declined to comment on which countries the foreign interest was coming from.

The impact of COVID-19 has led to a sense of urgency with rolling out the marketing campaign and sale process.

"Even with the regional border closures, we still had to get the process moving because we need to have things done so the buyer has time to muster before the wet season," he said.

"All of the parties that were shortlisted were virtually cash unconditional buyers and all of their expressions of interest were in the ballpark of the acceptable price range."

He said the next step was to allow the buyers some time to ponder what they saw on inspection and then make formal offers.

Mr Smith anticipated that a buyer will be selected within a few weeks and mid-August was an estimated deadline to have the sale completed.

The offering includes about 11,500 Droughtmaster cattle, 39 working horses, five broodmares and five pensioners, plus plant and equipment.

p Pastoral market update:

While the intrastate travel restrictions had little impact on rural property inspections in the southern part of the State as the selling season had ended, Mr Smith said they put a hold on the pastoral market, which is beginning to see increased activity.

"We haven't been able to do much in the pastoral market due to the regional travel restrictions, so we have had to put the 'foot on the hose' for the past few months," he said.

Ray White Rural WA director Simon Wilding said demand had remained very strong for pastoral properties across all regions.

"The Kimberley is always in demand because of the higher rainfall, properties in the Pilbara are sought after for cattle and also sheep if the vermin are controlled and stations in the Goldfields and southern rangelands are also in demand, but they are smaller properties," Mr Wilding said.

"There is good interest from the Eastern States - I suppose those buyers see WA land as well valued in comparison to the Eastern States.

"And there is also still interest for carbon farming - there have been a few people who have purchased stations with the intention to do that."

Nutrien Harcourts sales and pastoral manager Terry Norrish said more Kimberley listings were coming to the market but the "sellers have had a change of tack" for the time being.

He said that while the clientele for pastoral properties was narrower than for farms in the agricultural region, demand for stations was still strong.

"We have had particularly good interest in smaller stations, with demand coming from local buyers, business people and the Eastern States,'' Mr Norrish said.

"I suspect that WA pastoral land appeals to buyers in the east because of its comparable affordability."

Agents said to expect to see some more pastoral listings in the near future, particularly in the Gascoyne and Pilbara.

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