Saudi company closes land deal in Australia

The Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company has closed a deal to buy nearly half a million acres of farmland in Western Australia’s wheat belt.

The state-owned Saudi company confirmed the deal in a recent news release.

The deal includes cropland previously owned by Australian farmer John Nicoletti, a 40,000 head flock of Merino sheep and other third-party options.

The deal closed after receipt of a non-objection approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, the SALIC news release said.

The deal is SALIC’s first investment in Australia. The land will be managed by SALIC Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of SALIC KSA, a Riyadh-based investment company owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

In 2015, SALIC struck a deal with American-based agribusiness Bunge Ltd., and formed a joint venture holding company named G3 Global Holdings.

G3 Global Holdings acquired a 50.1 percent stake in the assets of the former Canadian Wheat Board.

Western Canadian farmers retained a 49.9 percent share in CWB assets, which are now part of Canadian grain-handling company G3 Canada, based in Winnipeg.

In 2016, SALIC increased its stake in the joint venture with Bunge, boosting ownership in the G3 Global Holdings to 75 percent from 49 percent.

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