Cash cow: interest high as cattle producer sells land

The sale by the country's biggest beef cattle producer, Australian Agricultural Company, of its two Queensland properties is said to be attracting buyers from local and international investment markets.

The sale by the country's biggest beef cattle producer, Australian Agricultural Company, of its two Queensland properties is said to be attracting buyers from local and international investment markets.

The assets, estimated to be worth a combined $15 million, are deemed non-strategic by AACo. Brighton Downs is being sold through Elders Real Estate, while agents are yet to be appointed for Adelong.

It is the second time Brighton Downs has been offered for sale. It was passed at auction in late 2010 for failing to meet the $12.75 million reserve.

AACo is one of the oldest rural companies in the country and is more than 60 per cent owned by overseas interests, including British billionaire Joe Lewis, US-based fund managers and a joint venture between Dubai's IFFCO and Malaysia's FELDA. The group was previously run by cattleman Peter Holmes a Court, who worked AACo through a court case with AMP over the unsuccessful purchase of the Stanbroke Pastoral Group in 2003.

The group owns about 1 per cent of Australia's land and the two stations for sale account for about 5.5 per cent of AACo's landholdings.

The cash raised from selling Brighton Downs will help build a new abattoir in Darwin.

Over a decade, AACo has focused on two areas; live beef cattle exports and "boxed" meat, which is meat killed and packaged in Australia for export.

AACo chief executive David Farley said with the group's strategy of growing the south-east Asia supply chain through the proposed Darwin abattoir, it was the right time to refocus on northern Australia.

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