A Chinese group is close to buying into Australia's - and the world's - largest cattle station

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Agribusiness investment group Australian Rural Capital is working with China’s Shanghai Pengxin Group in a joint bid to buy S. Kidman and Company Limited, the massive cattle company which controls about 2.6% of Australia’s rural land.

Treasurer Scott Morrison last year blocked the sale to foreign buyers, saying the size and location of the properties meant selling them to an offshore entity would be “contrary to the national interest”.

The family-owned Kidman company, started by Sir Sydney Kidman in 1899, has a herd of 185,000 cattle with pastoral leases covering 101,000 square km in three states and the Northern Territory.

Part of the holding, Anna Creek Station, the largest cattle station in the world at just under 24,000 square km, is about the same size as Rwanda.

Australian Rural Capital, which says it would fund the deal by raising equity funds, is working exclusively with a member of the Shanghai Pengxin Group on acquiring Kidman.

An application has been made to the Foreign Investment Review Board by the Shanghai Pengxin Group. The application includes the proposed ownership and role of Australian Rural Capital.

Bidding for the Adelaide-based company has been running around $350 million since it came onto the market almost a year ago.

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