Sydney: For a country as big as Australia, 1% of its landmass means an area bigger than the whole of South Korea – and the Chinese want to buy it.
A Chinese-led consortium has been eyeing S. Kidman & Co, the country's largest private land holding but the Australian government has blocked the sale, twice in last six months, saying that the sale is against the national interest. The Kidman company owns about 2.5 percent of Australia's agricultural land.
The A$371 million ($288 million) deal covers close to 75,000 sq kms spread across the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.
Treasurer Scot Morrison said, “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.”
“I have concerns that the form in which the Kidman portfolio has been offered as a single aggregated asset, has rendered it difficult for Australian bidders to be able to make a competitive bid. The size of the asset makes it difficult for any single Australian group to acquire the entire operation.”