RIDLEY Corporation has transformed itself into a pure play agribusiness with the sale of Cheetham Salt.The salt company has been sold for $150 million to Hong Kong based CK Life Sciences.
"This sale transforms Ridley into a focused animal nutrients, ingredients and feed producer,'' Ridley chairman John Spark said.
Cheetham Salt is Australia's largest producer and refiner of solar salt.
The company was founded at Geelong by Richard Cheetham in 1888.
Cheetham operates eight solar salt fields and five refineries throughout Australia with the capacity to produce 1.4 million tonnes annually.
The company operates a salt harvesting works and refinery at Lake Tyrrell, Victoria's largest salt lake, covering more than 20,000ha near Sea Lake in northwest Victoria.
Cheetham also operates fields in Queensland and South Australia.
Ridley Corporation Ltd acquired Cheetham Salt in 1992.
It is expected proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down Ridley's $60 million debt.
The sale does not include the Dry Creek salt field in Adelaide.
Ridley is a major supplier of stockfeeds to the beef, dairy, poultry, pig, sheep and aquaculture industries.