Australia vows to block foreign sale of largest cattle enterprise

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Sydney (dpa) – Australia vowed to block foreign buyers from acquiring the country’s largest cattle enterprise, citing security concerns, local media reported Thursday.

The federal government would block the sale of S Kidman & Co, whose holdings include 185,000 cattle and land covering more than 100,000 square kilometres, if the buyers turned out to be foreigners, said Treasurer Scott Morrison, according to the broadcaster ABC.

Two Chinese companies were reportedly among the top bidders.

“The parcel of land that we’re talking about is some 1.3 per cent of Australia’s landmass, some 2.6 per cent of the agricultural land in this country,” Morrison said.

“We welcome foreign investment, but as treasurer I will always make sure that that investment is done in Australia’s national interest,” Morrison added.

Bids for the enterprise were said to have exceeded 350 million Australian dollars (250 million US dollars).

Part of the property, Anna Creek Station, lies inside the Woomera defence weapons testing area in central Australia, the report said.

Overseas buyers have bought other large Australian properties. Chinese billionaire Xingfa Ma paid 47 million Australian dollars for two cattle stations in the Northern Territory in July.

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