DomaCom welcomes Kidman sale turnaround
Property fund manager DomaCom has welcomed the decision by the nation's largest private landowner, S Kidman & Co, to reopen the company's sale process to Australian parties.
The decision comes after Treasurer Scott Morrison blocked the sale to international investors last November, deeming it "contrary to the national interest".
He urged the company to reconsider the structure of the sale of a land mass equating to 1.3 per cent of Australia.
"I am encouraged that my decision has led to today's development," Mr Morrison said in a statement on Wednesday.
In January, DomaCom launched a crowd-funding campaign to buy the Kidman pastoral empire and by February it had more than 4,000 expressions of interest, who had together pledged about $60 million.
DomaCom CEO Arthur Naoumidis said the sale rethink reflected that there was genuine public interest in keeping the iconic Kidman pastoral station in Australian hands.
"When DomaCom entered the bidding for Kidman just before Christmas via the process of its ASIC-registered fund, there was no shortage of sceptics in the market who believed it was little more than a publicity stunt," said.
"But what DomaCom realised was that there was enormous interest among 'mum and dad' investors to invest in part of this country's agricultural heritage."
Mr Naoumidis said Kidman's decision to open up the sale process again to give Australian interests the opportunity to acquire this pastoral empire was a boon for DomaCom.
"We are hopeful that the announcement by Kidman will encourage more retail investors to come forward to invest in Kidman. Aside from the issue of keeping it in Australian hands, the investment reality is that under our proposal the land will be separated from the operating business, with the land expected to return about eight to nine per cent to our investors."
Seventh-generation pastoralist and ASIC-licensed financial adviser Stephen Burgin, who has joined forces with DomaCom to promote its bid, said there are sound commercial reasons for retail investors to invest in the Kidman Station.
"Burgeoning agricultural direct property investment, underwritten by strong domestic and export demand, should continue in the medium to long term, especially in light of sustained foreign currency exchange rates," he said.
The Kidman Station is an aggregation of 16 pastoral properties including outstations and supporting properties in breeding, feedlot and cropping. It is spread across Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia and is home to 185,000 cattle. At 101,000 square kilometres, it is larger than Ireland and almost half the size of Victoria.