05/04/2019 - 12:58

Saudi group settles Nicoletti farmland deal

05/04/2019 - 12:58

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Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company is expected to invest heavily in a livestock and grain production operation in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, after settling on its acquisition of a 200,000-hectare parcel of land bought from the Nicoletti family.

Saudi group settles Nicoletti farmland deal
The Baladjie aggregation includes substantial farming infrastructure on its 200,000ha. Photo: CBRE

Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company is expected to invest heavily in a livestock and grain production operation in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, after settling on its acquisition of a 200,000-hectare parcel of land bought from the Nicoletti family.

SALIC reportedly paid around $70 million for the land located in the Merredin, Mukinbudin, Bullfinch and Southern Cross regions, which includes a 40,000-head Merino sheep flock and 25 staff residences, 12 shearing sheds, livestock yards and other multi-purpose sheds, as well as 15,000 tonnes of grain storage facilities in Merredin.

The transaction settled this week after receiving approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

John Nicoletti appointed CBRE to handle the sale of the land, known as the Baladjie aggregation, midway through last year, hoping to achieve a sale price of up to $85 million.

“The acquisition of Baladjie is an important step for SALIC as we continue to build our global footprint in a meaningful way,” SALIC chief executive Matthew Jansen said in a statement.

“It is our first acquisition in Australia as well as our first investment in sheep production.”

SALIC head of production agriculture investments, WIlliam England, said the company would build on Mr Nicoletti’s legacy with a long-term focus on sustainability, profitability, environmental responsibility and support for the Wheatbelt community.

CBRE Agribusiness director Danny Thomas said the deal covered the largest single parcel of broadacre land in Australia.

“The purchaser was drawn to the scale and quality of this property, with it providing an opportunity to expand their platform significantly with geographic spread and also execute on their investment strategies,” he said.

SALIC, which is owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is also expected to establish an office in Perth to support its Wheatbelt operations.

Mr Nicoletti will reportedly work with SALIC in a consultancy role for the next 12 to 18 months.

“This purchase represents the culmination of a lifetime of work for us and others – and we are delighted that the enlarged business will be stewarded by the SALIC team into the future,” Mr Nicoletti said.

“Importantly, we are most grateful to our staff for their dedication and loyalty over many years.”

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