QATAR-owned Hassad Australia has offloaded its 47,677ha Telopea Downs Station in western Victoria for more than $70 million, in what could be the largest single farm transaction in the state’s history.
Originally comprising ten properties spanning 40,454ha in the state’s west, Telopea was purchased by Hassad in April 2012 for more than $35 million.
Since then, the company has added more than 7000ha to the aggregation which is primarily used as a sheep breeding hub.
As a soverign wealth fund, Hassad has acquired around 300,000ha of Australian farmland across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia since 2010, partly to guarantee food security for the gulf state of Qatar.
However, in December 2016, the company signalled the first signs in a change in direction when it sold its 2632ha Kaladbro Station, near Strathdownie in south-west Victoria to South Australian cattleman Tom Brinkworth for $24 million.
In July 2017, the Clover Downs Aggregation in southwest Queensland followed suit. The 125,293ha grazing property located near Cunnamulla, sold for $27m to well-known Narrabri (NSW) cattleman, Bill Zell.
The following month, Hassad announced plans to diversify towards a food processing and marketing agenda and away from fat-tailed Awassi sheep production to service meat orders direct from Doha and other markets.
More property sales followed with Hassad selling its 8560ha showcase Raby Station near Warren in central western NSW to a local consortium of buyers in November 2017, as well as two South Australian grain aggregations. The 3263ha Glendale near Clare in the state’s mid-north sold for $16.2m to several local adjoining and nearby farmers.
Hassad Australia still owns more than 104,000ha of land in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Several possible buyers for Telopea Downs Station have been suggested, including the South Australian McBride family – one of the country’s largest wool producers. The family-owned company currently owns eight grazing properties in South Australia.
Another name put forward is Paraway Pastoral Co, which recently paid $13m for the heavily improved, 5300ha grazing property Moira Runda, in Queensland’s western Darling Downs.