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Mort and Co buys Twynam's Gunnee Feedlot

03 Feb, 2005 09:00 PM
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TWYNAM Pastoral Company has taken another step in its property asset rationalisation with the sale of Gunnee Station in North West NSW for an undisclosed sum believed to be close to $10 million.

Gunnee Station was the home of the Gunnee feedlot and the 3588-hectare blacksoil property near Delungra was also used for graingrowing and cattle breeding and backgrounding.

The property was offered for sale at auction by Sydney-based agents, Meares and Associates, in early November last year when it was passed in for $10 million.

It was subsequently listed for private sale at asking prices of $10.6 million for the whole, or in three blocks for a combined total of $10.7 million.

The buyer is Mort and Company Lot Feeders Pty Ltd, Toowoomba, for whom the move into Gunnee represents a change in strategic direction.

Managing director Charlie Mort said the company had previously used custom feedlots to finish its cattle for export and domestic markets.

The Gunnee purchase represented the first step in a transition to owning and operating a percentage of its required feeding space.

Mort and Co at present uses custom feedlots from Queensland to Victoria and at any one time will have up to 50,000 head on feed destined for various markets (in recent times, mostly export).

The company also is developing its own 30,000-head feedlot at Grassdale Station, near Dalby, with plans to eventually expand this facility to a licensed capacity of 48,000 head.

Gunnee Feedlot is licensed for 14,000 head and is now carrying 9000 head.

Twynam bought Gunnee Station - at that time a property of 2324ha but since built up to its present size with adjoining additions - in 1987.

Before that, the property was owned by the Staniforth family. The feedlot was installed in the 1970s by an earlier owner, Bob Kramer, although it has undergone expansion under Twynam.

Before the sale of Gunnee, Twynam was ranked number 16 in the top 25 lotfeeders list published in July, 2004, by Meat and Livestock Australia.

Its two feedlots at Gunnee and The Mount, Forbes, gave Twynam a total licensed capacity of 18,000 head.

At the time of the auction last year Twynam director John Kahlbetzer said the company had decided its future involvement in lotfeeding would be limited to finishing its own station-bred stock and The Mount would be adequate for that purpose.

The sale of Gunnee Station follows other major sales since late 2003 by Twynam of Merungle Station, Booligal; Iffley Station, Rowena; North Cobran, Hay, and St Peters, near Trangie.

(Some of these sales represented disposal of dryland country from which water licences had been retained.)

Mr Mort, who is a great-great-nephew of pastoral company and shipping pioneer, Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, said he had not attended the auction sale of Gunnee but had become interested later.

Having visited the property on Monday, he said he was 'very pleased' with the new acquisition, especially in the light of recent rain that had lifted the seasonal prospects.

He said it was planned to source cattle for the company's new Gunnee feedlot from NSW, while the Dalby feedlot would draw mainly on Queensland cattle.

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