NAPCo – North Australia Pastoral Co – shares for sale

The North Australia Pastoral Co (NAPCo) is one of Australia’s oldest large pastoral companies; having been established in the 1870s. Renowned for conservative, steady management (the most likely style to make a healthy profit, long-term); the ownership of NAPCo has always been kept as secret as possible; with long-term shareholders living unassuming lives out of the public eye.  The London-based MP Evans Group owns around 30% of NAPCo and the Foster family (Tasmania) owns around 60%.

NAPCo owns Australia’s (and the world’s) second largest cattle station, Alexandria, situated on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory. (The largest cattle station in Australia is Anna Creek, in North-Eastern South Australia; owned by another large and very old pastoral company, and which is the most like NAPCo, S Kidman & Co.)

NAPCo cattle stations are not for sale but a share package in the company as a whole, is.  While there is often some drama or another in agriculture; the ongoing animal rights extremist/live export disaster plus a looming drought make it a very poorly chosen time to sell.

It would be nice to see majority ownership of NAPCo remain in the hands of Australians, but given the amount of capital involved/the price, this probably won’t happen.

Gresham Partners   (an investment advisory company) are handling the sale of NAPCo shares.

I feel for the uncertainty this brings to all the people who work for NAPCo; many of whom have worked for the company for many years or even most of their lives.

One thing is certain. If someone buys NAPCo as a whole, it’s highly likely they’ll follow the path of the vast majority of other corporate owners, and only own it for a few years (rarely for much longer than 5 years). It’s incredibly sad to see such continuity of ownership end.  I’ve never seen rapidly changing ownership have anything but a negative effect on these large cattle stations, where knowledgeable, experienced and caring staff are the biggest but most undervalued asset.  This is a very sad day for the Australian cattle industry. Here’s hoping shares are mostly redistributed amongst existing shareholders, rather than sold to a corporate investor.

Some of my favourite photographs have been taken on NAPCo-owned Alexandria Station. Two of them are included amongst the website header images; ‘To Gallipoli’ (outstation) and ‘Camp at Bore number eighty-three’ (near the northernmost point of Lake Eyre’s catchment).  A number of Alexandria images are included in the book ‘A Million Acre Masterpiece’, including the cover image, ‘The Barkly Breeze’.

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