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China’s Dashang Group Acquires Leading Australian Wagyu Herd

May 9, 2016

By GAI News staff

Demand for traceable, premium, boxed beef has been soaring in China. To position itself to better meet this demand, Australia Aulong Auniu Wang (AAAW), the cattle arm of Chinese supermarket and department store giant Dashang Group, has acquired the key Australian Wagyu beef operation, Kuro Kin, in an off-market deal, reports Farm Weekly.

The transaction, which has gained approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and which The Australian reports as being valued between $12 million and $20 million, includes the elite 1,100 head Kuro Kin (Black Gold) Wagyu herd and the 3,500 hectare Wooton farm owned by the Bishop family.

This acquisition builds upon AAAW’s $45 million acquisition last year of the 30,000-hectare Glenrock Station, which is stocked with 5,000 head of Angus cattle. The group also owns the Clear Hills station and a 15% stake in Beston Food Group.

With a fully integrated, completely traceable supply chain in mind, Dashang plans to breed its own Angus and Wagyu cattle on its own Australian farms. The cattle will then be processed and sold as branded beef through the group’s retail outlets on the Chinese market, creating the first “dedicated Australian beef outlets in China”, reports The Australian.

“We want to provide our customers with a farmgate template – many companies say they do that but we are genuine because we will own the farms and have control over the total supply chain,” AAAW general manager Michael Wang told Farm Weekly. “The Bishop family have done a very good job developing genetics and to achieve our longer-term objectives, operational investment will be ongoing.”

The deal brings together Kuro Kin’s pool of some of the best Wagyu genetics outside of Japan, and AAAW’s extensive and established distribution and sales network, which sets it apart from rival Chinese companies investing in the Australian cattle space.

“This investment will help boost the growth of our industry, stimulate further investment that will drive the Australian economy, creating jobs and opportunities in the process,” said Kuro Kin’s Peter Bishop who will remain as manager of the Kuro Kin herd.

Indeed, investment in the industry appears to be at the forefront of investor’s minds in the first months of 2016 as the $371 million regulatory and bidding battle for the iconic S. Kidman cattle empire continues, and Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), the $78.5 billion investment arm of the Queensland government, has acquired an 80% stake in the North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCo) in a deal reported to exceed $400 million.

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