Macquarie buys Twynam

22 Jul, 2010 04:00 AM

AUSTRALIA'S pastoral landscape will undergo a dramatic change next month when the bulk of Twynam Agricultural Group's grazing country passes to new corporate ownership.

Paraway Pastoral Company, the trading entity of Macquarie Bank's Pastoral Fund, has bought three of Twynam's iconic NSW stations, "Mungadal", "Cooinbil" and "Buttabone".

"Mungadal" and "Cooinbil" are located in the Riverina, near Hay and Carrathool respectively, and "Buttabone" on the Macquarie River north of Warren.

The mega-transaction, which involves some 160,000 hectares of choice pastoral land, takes Paraway's holdings Australia-wide to just over three million hectares and catapults the company into the top bracket of Australian sheep producers.

It also marks the end of Twynam's serious involvement in the sheep industry, and reduces its cattle herd by more than half, to between 3000 and 4000 breeders.

Included in the deal (for which no price has been disclosed) were about 45,000 adult sheep and 6000 adult cattle and their respective progeny, plus all plant and machinery.

Contracts for the sale were exchanged in Sydney this week, ending rumours that had been doing the rounds for several weeks of a major deal in the wind involving Twynam.

According to Macquarie Pastoral Group's chief executive officer, David Goodfellow, the purchase gives Paraway a total carrying capacity now of 200,000 sheep and 200,000 cattle.

That means that when fully stocked, it will be two-thirds of the way towards achieving its earlier-stated goal of building a pastoral enterprise of 300,000 sheep and 300,000 cattle.

It also means Paraway is now well placed to become Australia's third-biggest sheep flock owner (as measured in Australian Farm Journal's annual "Who owns the farm" survey.

That was a position occupied by Twynam just three years ago, but its property divestments since then have seen the Kahlbetzer family-owned group fall right off the "top 10" sheep table.

In its heyday, the Twynam pastoral juggernaut founded in the 1970s by global steel trader John D. Kahlbetzer was itself shearing upwards of 200,000 sheep.

Twynam's chief executive officer, Christine Campbell, said the sell-off was part of an ongoing asset adjustment process arising from "generational change" within the Kahlbetzer family.

She said it left Twynam still holding substantial irrigation-based agricultural assets in the Gwydir Valley ("Collymongle"), at Forbes ("Jemalong"/"The Mount"), Hillston ("Merrowie") and the Riverina ("Gundaline"/"Cobran").

(Twynam made headlines last year when it sold the bulk of its river water entitlements to the Federal Government's buy-back scheme for a reported $303 million.)

For Paraway, the latest acquisitions build its national pastoral empire to 14 stations (some being aggregations of several properties), spread across NSW, Queensland and Northern Territory.

They also continue the company's strategy of grouping its properties within three different geographic and seasonal zones - the Riverina, northern NSW and the Top End.

The Riverina is the intended Merino breeding "engine room" of the NSW operation, supplying Merino and crossbred sheep to other properties for woolgrowing and meat lamb production.

Mr Goodfellow said while the company's existing focus on Pooginook Merino genetics would be maintained, the latest acquisitions would broaden the base for selection and accelerate the rate of overall flock improvement.

"We intend to offer 1000 rams at this year's on-property sale at 'Pooginook', and within five years we hope to have 2000," he said.

Paraway plans to take possession of the three former Twynam properties next month, and already has placed advertisements for key staff.

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22/07/2010 1:18:55 PM, on The Land

Lets see how long it takes for the water to start flowing on the Riverina properties again. Our great Penny Wong gifts $303mill to Tywnam. The great Macquarie swoops in and it won't take long before these properties irrigated once again. What a debacle!
23/07/2010 3:22:43 PM, on The Land

I thought Labor was against big business buying everything which is not nailed down!
7/04/2013 5:24:37 PM, on Straight Furrow

Do you have a photo of Mungadal Sation you could send me?


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Well Said Mathew, On our place before we could ever have a wireless internet system, we would
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Good points, Matthew. Maybe you should send this piece to our new Communications Minister Mitch
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Why has AWI refused to comment?