Australian Financial Review | 3 February 2020
South African rich-lister scoops up NT cattle stations for $70m
by LARRY SCHLESINGER
A company backed by one of South Africa’s richest men is setting itself up to be a major player in the Northern Territory’s beef sector after paying $70 million for two major cattle stations, Tanumbirini and Forrest Hill.
The two stations near Daly Waters, about 600 kilometres south-east of Darwin, comprise approximately 559,370 hectares and have a carrying capacity of 40,000 cattle.
The buyer, Rallen Australia, bought the neighbouring 376,000-hectare Kalala Station 18 months ago for $58 million to add to two cattle station in the Roper River Region – 81,000 hectare Mt McMinn Station and 70,800-hectare Big River Station – both acquired in 2018 for $7.5 million and $5.5 million respectively.
Rallen Australia is a subsidiary of Rallen Pty Ltd, a company based in Vereeniging south of Johannesburg.
It’s controlled by Giovanni Ravazzotti – worth around $500 million according to Forbes – ranking him among South Africa’s 20 richest people.
Mr Ravazzotti founded and is the chairman and majority shareholder (through Rallen) of Johannesburg-listed Italtile, a retailer of tiles and bathware which in 2019 generated sales of $1 billion.
Mr Ravazzotti and his daughter Luciana Ravazzotti Langenhoven are listed as the directors of Rallen Australia.
His son-in-law, Sydney-based Pierre Langenhoven, told The Australian Financial Review Rallen was on the hunt for more acquisitions as part of a 10 to 20 year plan to establish itself in the NT.
“We want to invest in more cattle stations and eventually set up our own stud,” he said.
Tanumbirini and Forrest Hill stations were sold by Thames Pastoral Company, which acquired them for about $33 million in 2012 from pastoralist and former Australian Financial Review rich-lister Sterling Buntine.
Thames Pastoral is a subsidiary of Insight Global Farmland Fund Ltd, a fund run by UK-based asset management giant Insight Investment.
The sale included 36,400 cattle plus follower. The transfer of the pastoral lease to Rallen Australia is subject to the consent of the NT Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.
Tanumbirini and Forrest Hill were sold in one line by Rawdon Briggs and Bram Pollock of Colliers International, and Geoff Warriner and Chris Holgar of JLL.
Mr Briggs said there was still plenty of capital seeking quality agriculture assets in Australia.
“We had one of the strongest online campaigns ever with over 8,900property video views, and 330 digital Information Memorandum views since launching,” he said.
Tanumbirini and Forrest Hill enjoy reliable annual rainfall of approximately 733 millimetres and 860 millimetres respectively and are suited primarily to large scale beef production.
“This sale marks a significant transaction in the Northern Territory’s pastoral sector,” said Mr Warriner.
“The properties have been developed in recent years through upgrades to stock water, pipelines, yards, fencing and homestead buildings. Further development opportunities exist to unlock full value especially considerate that the assets are situated on top of the Beetaloo Basin gas reserves.”