Kidman & Co waxes in a good paddock
Wednesday, 2nd November, 2011
By Paula Doran
Prime seasonal conditions and property sales have given pastoral giants S Kidman & Co a $20.4 million profit for the past financial year.
Good rainfall through the company’s channel country properties north of Broken Hill aided the increased profit from an estimated $2.5 million for the previous financial year and the company is now running its highest ever cattle herd across the country.
At its peak this year the Kidman herd numbered 210,000, and dropped back to 206,000 in June.
For the year 2010-2011, the company recorded its best after-tax profit for the historic grazing interest since 2001 when a flourishing season coincided with the low Australian dollar.
Kidman’s managing director, Greg Campbell, said the sale of Quinyambie Station, the nearest station to Broken Hill on the South Australian border, had contributed 20 per cent of the year’s profit.
Kidman & Co sold the 12,000 square kilometre cattle property to Mutoroo Pastoral Co for about $5.6 million last year in a move to focus their development on Northern Territory and Western Australian properties.
“It’s always a difficult decision to sell a property like Quinyambie. You’re dealing with a lot of corporate knowledge that goes with those interests, but in the end we wanted to develop our holdings further north,” said Mr Campbell.
He said by good fortune Kidman’s had not planned to live export this year, so had escaped the impact of the export ban to Indonesia.
“Live export is an opportunistic market for the company. We use it if it is useful and valid,” he said
“We hadn’t planned to trade through live export this year though. When there’s a good season on our South Australian and Queensland properties it is better to prepare our sale cattle through our own system.
“It really is about having a variety of markets. Diversity is the key.”
Mr Campbell, though happy with the profit and return to a strong market, said what was needed now were two or three good seasons in a row to consolidate and repair from the dry 10 years just gone.
The company is counting the cost of recent fires in which they lost 30 to 40 per cent of pasture on Napper Merry and 25 per cent of pasture on Naryilko.
“With the good season comes that fire risk,” Mr Campbell said.
“We’ve had big losses of valuable pasture but with the abundance of feed still in existence we should be right to hold onto the stock that we’ve got.”