Kidman in Rinehart hands

Nick Butterly and Sean SmithThe West Australian
Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has achieved control of the S. Kidman and Co pastoral empire with the Government backing her bid.
Camera IconGina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has achieved control of the S. Kidman and Co pastoral empire with the Government backing her bid.

Gina Rinehart says Australia should look to Donald Trump’s example to kick-start the economy as she won Government backing for her takeover of the country’s biggest landholding.

Mrs Rinehart’s $365 million takeover of the S. Kidman & Co pastoral empire was given the green light by the Foreign Investment Review Board last Friday, one of the last major hurdles in her pursuit of the properties.

Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting teamed with a 33 per cent partner, Shanghai CRED Real Estate, in October after an earlier all-Chinese bid led by Shanghai CRED was scuppered on national interest grounds.

Kidman properties span 101,000sqkm across four States and Territories, grazing 185,000 cattle.

Mrs Rinehart had promised to buy the properties outright had FIRB again rejected the Chinese element of the bid.

She told Seven News the sale meant profits would stay in Australian hands.

“It does mean, of course, Australians can feel it is under Australian control, ” she said.

Mrs Rinehart said Australia should look to US president-elect Mr Trump’s promise to slash business red tape.

“We could learn from that,” she said. “Could you imagine how fantastic this country could be?”

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said the sale process had been extensively and heavily scrutinised and that other Australian bidders had ample opportunity to participate.

He said the Hancock bidding company Outback Beef had “made a commitment of significant investments into the Kidman business”.

It included increasing the herd size by 20,000 head of cattle in the next 18 months and investing up to $19 million in capital improvements, with 35 new jobs to be created.

Mrs Rinehart, Hancock’s chairwoman, said the acquisition would elevate the WA company into the top three beef producers in Australia, with a combined herd size of up to 300,000 head.

“Three-quarters of this country’s beef production is exported and export markets are critical for the industry’s future,” she said.

“We intend to provide additional investment in cattle and infrastructure, including technology improvements to keep cost and quality competitive internationally.

“The Treasurer’s approach to the sale of Kidman enabled a local Australian company to pay a fair market price and retain Kidman in Australian control.”

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