A prominent businessman from Vietnam has purchased a Northern Territory cattle station.
In what is believed to be the first major Vietnamese investment into the north Australian beef sector, Vermelha Station has been sold to An Vien Pastoral Holding and Agriculture for $18 million. ABC reports.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission lists the major shareholder of the company as Pham Nhat Vu, the chairman of media company An Vien Group.
Mr Pham Nhat Vu is the brother of Vietnam’s only billionaire and head of conglomerate Vingroup, Pham Nhat Vuong.
In February, the Australian newspaper reported Vingroup had purchased a Sydney CBD redevelopment site for $22.5 million.
The northern cattle industry continues to be well-supported by both domestic and foreign companies, as it has been for decades, with many properties recently changing ownership.
Vermelha is 2,039 square-kilometres in size, located about 200 kilometres south of Katherine, alongside the Stuart Highway.
While not commenting specifically on the new owner, selling agent Sue Brosnan from Tanami Rural Property told ABC Rural the property would continue to be run as a pastoral enterprise, which may look to diversify.
“They will be looking at the new diversification provision of the Pastoral Land Act, just to ensure they’re making best use of the property,” she said.
“I think it will be fantastic for the pastoral industry, as I’m sure they’ll be committed to the industry as investors here.”
Ms Brosnan said there were 10,000 Brahman-cross cattle included in the sale.
“The cows – even at this time of year in the dry season – are in really good condition,” she said.
“It’s also been well-developed in terms of fencing, laneways, yards and waters.”
The Top End already has a large population of very successful Vietnamese farmers in Darwin’s rural area, however few have ventured far beyond fruit and vegetables.
Vermelha Station, formerly owned by Lyn and Bobbie Brazil, may be well suited to a diversification model, with a recent Northern Territory Government study finding the local soils to be very suitable to irrigation projects.
The property has a reasonable water licence and was the first in the region to introduce a centre pivot irrigator to grow hay for cattle.
Another Vietnamese company, which was looking for land to develop a large dragon fruit farm, came close to buying Vermelha earlier this year.
The CT Group inspected the property but failed to follow through with the purchase.
Lindsey and Veronica Elliott will continue to manage the property on behalf of An Vien Pastoral Holding and Agriculture.