$1bn beef empire could be sold off

Consolidated Pastoral CEO Troy Setter on Newcastle Waters station.
Consolidated Pastoral CEO Troy Setter on Newcastle Waters station.

The $1 billion empire of Australia’s largest private beef producer Consolidated Pastoral Company could be broken up by its private equity owner, British group Terra Firma Capital, which has tapped agent Meares & Associates to field interest on individual properties in its portfolio.

The move is likely to bring more local farmers and rural groups into the frame to buy key properties as they could break the portfolio down into either single stations that could be bolted on to their existing holdings or into more digestible parcels of associated properties.

The company’s stations include the Newcastle Waters ­Station at Barkly in the Northern Territory and Nockatunga Station at Thargomindah in Queensland.

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While global players seeking a position in the worldwide beef trade may still chase the entire portfolio in one line, a split could also bring a higher price as some properties could also suit other uses, including tourism.

CPC runs 400,000 cattle over its 16 properties that span more than 5.5 million hectares. Most of the Australian business is in the Northern Territory, with large holdings also in Queensland and Western Australia. There are also two feedlots in Indonesia.

Terra Firma Capital owns the majority stake in the business that it bought from the Packer family in 2009 and it last year tapped real estate firm Knight Frank and investment bank Goldman Sachs to offer it to institutional buyers.

They are still on the job and in a flyer to prospective buyers Meares says the pair “have been overwhelmed with the inquiry for individual properties” and his firm will now assist in the seeking of interest in a break-up of the stations.

Meares told the Weekend Australian that the value of the properties would range from $10 million to more than $150 million.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.