WA cattle on Chinese menu

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Gina Rinehart.
Camera IconGina Rinehart. Credit: Getty Images.

The Chinese company joining forces with Gina Rinehart to buy the Kidman cattle empire has one hurdle to clear in a separate deal to secure a cluster of stations in the Goldfields.

Shanghai CRED has finalised the purchase of two cattle stations in the Kimberley in recent months and owns farmland at Marvel Loch where it plans to fatten cattle from the five Goldfields properties.

The WA Government faces an acid test of its policy on foreign investment in agricultural land when it is asked to approve the transfer of the five pastoral leases to Shanghai CRED, which has set up an Australian operating entity called Shanghai Zenith.

Lands Minister Terry Redman has the authority to approve the transfers but chooses to take those involving foreign investors to Cabinet.

Cabinet is expected to make a call on the Goldfields leases, covering about one million hectares, within the next fortnight.

The deal has already been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Shanghai CRED and Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting are close to securing the Kidman properties and about 150,000 cattle in a deal worth about $370 million. The transaction will end 117 years of Kidman-family ownership and involve the transfer of 10 million hectares to Hancock Prospecting and Shanghai CRED.

Hancock Prospecting would take the majority stake with Shanghai CRED owning just over 30 per cent.

Kidman would continue to be run out of Adelaide despite Hancock Prospecting having its headquarters in West Perth and Shanghai Zenith operating from an address in South Perth.

Shanghai CRED founder Gui Goujie was pictured with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Shanghai in April during the signing of a sponsorship deal with Port Adelaide aimed at bringing the AFL to China.

Mr Gui is a director of Shanghai Zenith and has an address in East Perth in addition to his vast property development interests in China.

Hancock Prospecting did not respond to questions on the Kidman deal yesterday.

The purchase would add to its spending spree that already includes Liveringa, Nerrima and Fossil Downs in the Kimberley and cattle stations in the Northern Territory. Hancock business development manager Dan Wade and general manager of cattle Scott Richardson are central to the pastoral investments. They were involved in a recent meeting in Perth where the State Government’s now-shelved plans for land tenure reform affecting the industry were a hot topic. Only one of the 10 Kidman properties, Ruby Plains, is in WA.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said Mrs Rinehart and other high-profile investors had given the industry a massive boost.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails