DomaCom welcomes Kidman foreign bid rejection
DomaCom has welcomed Treasurer Scott Morrison's decision to reject the bid by a Chinese consortium to purchase Kidman Station, saying it is "very pleasing" to see the government has listened to the flood of public opinion.
Last week, Mr Morrison announced he had determined the foreign investor's proposal to acquire Kidman Station to be "contrary to the national interest".
"Given the size and significance of the Kidman portfolio, I am concerned that the acquisition of an 80 per cent interest in S Kidman & Co Limited by Dakang Australia Holdings Pty Ltd may be contrary to the national interest," he said.
"I have today made my concerns known to the applicant and provided them with a natural justice period in which they may respond and consider how they wish to proceed. The applicant shall have until next Tuesday 3 May 2016 to respond."
DomaCom last year launched a crowdfunding proposal to purchase Kidman Station, which saw 5,000 retail investors pledge more $70 million in three months.
This amount of support is proof that Australian investors are interested in domestic agricultural assets, said DomaCom chief executive Arthur Naoumidis.
"What the DomaCom campaign clearly demonstrated is that there is genuine public interest in keeping the iconic Kidman pastoral station in Australian hands, and that 'mum and dad' investors want to have a stake in this country's agricultural heritage," he said.
"Opinion polls have continually shown that ordinary Australians are deeply concerned about retaining our agricultural land, as well as the businesses that flow from them, and what our crowdfunding proposal did was give them the opportunity to give expression to that concern."
Mr Naoumidis hopes Mr Morrison's announcement will "breathe fresh life" into the DomaCom offer.
"Hopefully, it will encourage more retail investors to come forward to invest in Kidman. Aside from the issue of keeping it in Australian hands, the investment reality is that under our proposal the land will be separated from the operating business, with the land expected to return about 8-9 per cent to our investors," he said.
"We also hope it's a wake-up call for our large superannuation funds and asset managers to give a higher priority to agricultural investment to allow our prime pastoral and cropping land to remain in Australian hands."
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