Foreign takeover of Kidman still on cards

A Chinese-Australian consortium that saw its plan to acquire a significant stake in Kidman Station blocked by the Treasurer last week, says it will put together a new bid for government approval.

In an announcement to the ASX this afternoon, one member of the consortium, Australian Rural Capital (ARC), said that it, and its partner, Chinese company Dakang Australia Holdings, would work with the Kidman board to develop a new deal.

"ARC and Dakang Australia remain committed to continuing to work together and with the Kidman board to develop a new bid structure which will be capable of acceptance by the Kidman board, the Kidman shareholder and approval by the Treasurer," the announcement said.

Last week, Treasurer Scott Morrison said that the acquisition by foreign investors of Australia's largest private landholding S. Kidman and Co. Limited was "contrary to 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.

As a result, ARC said Dakang Australia has withdrawn its current Foreign Investment Review Board application to acquire 80 per cent of Kidman, but would put together a new bid.

DomaCom, which last year launched a crowdfunding proposal to purchase Kidman Station, welcomed the Treasurer's decision to reject the Chinese-Australian bid.

Arthur Naoumidis, chief executive of DomaCom, said last week that he hoped Mr Morrison's announcement would "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.

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