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Northern cattle stations placed in receivership

Northern cattle stations placed in receivership

Adam Sanders             Bankvictims 18 July 2013

Labelle Downs, Welltree Station and Mirage Plains are owned by R.M. Williams Co Beef, a subsidiary company of R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings that also went into receivership earlier this month.

The owner of three cattle stations, two in the Northern Territory and one in Queensland, has been placed in receivership.

PPB Advisory has been appointed as receiver and manager of all three properties.

R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings has a total of seven subsidiary companies, that also includes Inglewood Farms, an organic chicken company in Queensland, that went into receivership on the 10th of July.

Spokesman Greg Quinn says there are no remaining directors.

"The receiverships have come about due to the withdrawal of shareholder support from R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings," he said.

"Throughout the last few weeks there's been a number of resignations of directors.

"There are now no directors for the holding company or the subsidiary companies."

Mr Quinn says R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings have paid the price for diversifying its business too quickly.

"It's expanded too quickly and lost it's way," he said.

"When you do that, trying to maintain that functionality and priorities of where you investors want to go becomes extremely difficult.

"This puts a spotlight on corporate agribusiness, how that might work in the future.

"In contrast, it also highlights how well the family-run business model is working, family farmers who are very passionate about what they do, know the business and have the skin in the game."

Labelle Downs and Welltree Station

Labelle Downs is located next to Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory, and is adjacent to Welltree Station.

The stations have a staff of five and a joint capacity of 30,000 head of cattle.

The livestock currently on the property are agisted cattle and aren't owned by R.M. Williams Co Beef.

PPB Advisory spokesman Greg Quinn says it's likely both properties will be sold.

"The properties are in great condition, particularly because they've been understocked," he said.

"They are seasonal properties, so selling them strategically at the right time is going to be vitally important."

Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association executive director Luke Bowen says he does not believe the live cattle export ban in 2011 is the cause of the cattle stations being placed in receivership.

He says the business strategies of the company involved are partly to blame.

"[We are] talking about a large company that bought a lot of properties very quickly a number of years ago," he said.

"They also bought at the top of the market, when property values were very high.

"This is not just in the Territory, this is across the country; they have a range of different enterprises."

Mirage Plains Station







Mirage Plains is also owned by R.M. Williams Co Beef which is now in receivership, and is expected to be placed on the market in the coming months.

It's located near Cunnamulla in south-west Queensland and is predominately a cropping and grazing property.

It employs just one caretaker, and currently has agistment cattle on the property.

PPB Advisory spokesman Greg Quinn says Mirage Downs was intended to become the main supplier of organic feed for other R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings' businesses.

"The intention was for it to become a feed hub for the poultry farm.

"As that vision changed the group has gone out to raise some cattle with the intention of turning it into an organic lamb hub.

"It is significantly understocked.

"We're initially assessing the cropping potential of the property, it does have the potential, but our initial thoughts are that it's probably more suitable to grazing and lamb farming."

Inglewood Farms







Inglewood Farms is an organic chicken producer owned by Inglewood Properties Pty Ltd, also a subsidiary to R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings.

It is the single biggest employer in Inglewood in Queensland, with more than 100 staff, and went into receivership on July 10.

PPB Advisory spokesman Greg Quinn says it is preparing the farm to be sold.

"We're now formally advertising and initial expressions of interest will close this Friday.

"Our primary position has been to protect those staff and the business if currently trading as usual.

"There's no intention for any job loss."

Henbury Station







Henbury Station is currently owned by R.M. Williams Agricultural Co Landscape Management.

It is the only subsidiary company of R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings that has not been placed into receivership.

Located 230 kilometres south of Alice Springs, the station was purchased in July 2011 as part of a controversial carbon conservation project that would see the property form part of the National Reserve System. It was set to become the world's biggest carbon farm.

R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings paid $13 million for the property, with a $9 million contribution from the Federal Government.

The ABC understands a methodology for sequestering carbon in arid areas is still being developed and was resubmitted to the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee for assessment in June.

Last modified onMonday, 22 July 2013 08:23

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