Chinese buy southern Queensland property for $28 million

Woodlands is located near Westmar and sold for $28 million to a Chinese owned company. Photo Contributed
Woodlands is located near Westmar and sold for $28 million to a Chinese owned company. Contributed

A CHINESE company has purchased a southern Queensland cattle property for $28 million from a United Kingdom-based group.

MP Evans Group told the London Stock Exchange in a statement last week that it had exchanged contracts for the conditional sale of "Woodlands" a 31,000-hectare cattle-fattening property to an Australian subsidiary of the Fucheng Group.

The property is located just west of Westmar.

Ray White Rural International facilitated the sale and general manager Bruce Gunning said it was an aggregation of a number of properties.

The sale is conditional upon various regulatory approvals, including that of the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board which Evans Group expects to receive within about three months.

Mr Gunning said he didn't anticipate the board would take issue with the sale as it was between two foreign-owned companies.

The sale is for the property alone and both the cattle and the plant and equipment on the property, which are estimated to have a combined value of over AU$10 million, will be sold separately.

Evans Group said in a statement Woodlands reported a farm profit for the year ending 2014 of US$0.2 million.

"The board determined some time ago, for strategic reasons, to sell Woodlands, but significant interest in the property has developed only in recent months further to the sharp strengthening of the cattle market.

"The proceeds from the sale will be used partly to repay a portion of the group's debt and partly applied towards the group's expansion in the Indonesian palm-oil sector."

The Queensland and Federal Governments are expected to reap cash from the sale in the form of stamp duty and other fees.

Mr Gunning described the transaction as a "fair deal" for both parties.

He said the deal involved lengthy negotiations.

"We went to the market with this property three years ago and it had been available ever since," he said.

Mr Gunning said there was high international demand for large agricultural - and in particularly cattle properties.

"Properties that have any significant size about them attract a lot of interest," he said.

"Beef is the flavour of the month because live weight cattle prices are high, at about $3 per kilo."

Mr Gunning said Ray White Rural International had tapped into the international real estate market by offering translations of advertisements into several languages.