Ta ta, Qatar - Australia comes first

September 03, 2018

Macquarie Group's agricultural arm is closing in on a deal to acquire the remaining farm assets of Hassad Australia – owned by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund – for close to $300 million.

Fifteen months ago Conservative Party leader and senator Cory Bernardi called out Qatar and their sovereign wealth fund, telling the Senate they weren't welcome in Australia (video below).

In what will be the biggest farmland deal in Australia since the sale of S. Kidman & Co in 2016 to Gina Rinehart, The Australian Financial Review understands the Qatar Investment Authority will become a part investor in a Macquarie-controlled fund that will own the Hassad assets.

This deal comes hot on the heels of a record-breaking sale by Hassad of its 47,600-hectare farm Telopea Downs to fifth generation family-owned company A.J. & P.A. McBride. That deal, brokered by Elders general manager for real estate, Tom Russo, is the largest single farm transaction in Victorian history and the biggest acquisition for the McBrides for almost 90 years.

Senator Bernardi has long been suspicious of the 'Sovereign Wealth fund' - a state-owned corporation of Qatar, which has a questionable record including allegations it has supported terrorist organisations.

To read Matthew Cranston's full article, click here.

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