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Australia approves sale of giant Kidman pastoral holdings

[SYDNEY] Australia on Friday approved the A$386.5 million (S$409 million) sale of the country's largest private land holder S Kidman & Co to a consortium led by the country's richest woman Gina Rinehart, having blocked two previous bids.

Ms Rinehart and her minority partner, Chinese developer Shanghai CRED, will now complete the purchase of S Kidman, which runs cattle and pastoral activities on tracts of land the size of South Korea.

The property sale has been a lightning rod for concerns about the sale of Australian agriculture and other key assets to foreign investors, with the government blocking earlier bids to Chinese-led groups.

"Kidman will remain majority Australian owned under this proposal, and remain an Australian incorporated company headquartered in South Australia," Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement.

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The cattle station Anna Creek will not be sold to the Rinehart-led consortium because of its close proximately to a government-owned weapons-testing range, and would instead be sold to private Australian cattle farmers.