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Major merger creates new feed company

Published on 20 May, 2011, Last updated at 13:13 GMT

New Zealand -- New jobs will be created and purchasing power increased in the Ashburton District with the sale of shares in Winslow Feeds and Nutrition to farmer co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

The national company has joined forces with the homegrown animal nutrition company and another independent supplier, Morrinsville based Seales Ltd, in a merger Winslow Group managing director Craig Carr described as an exciting move for the future.

The new company, Seales Winslow, is owned 51 per cent by Ballance with the remaining 49 per cent of shares owned by Winslow and Seales. Mr Carr will become its new board director.

"It had always been our objective to grow nationwide and we'd always had a good relationship with Seales in the North Island. The last few years we've been looking at how to place ourselves to have a national footprint from Kaitia to Bluff," he said.

The merger created a New Zealand first, with a nationally-owned operation that would fully link all aspects of nutrition on a dairy, deer or sheep and beef farm. The new company would use New Zealand research to create a specifically New Zealand product for the New Zealand farmer, Mr Carr said.

"We will link the four great genetic engines on these farms in the soils, forage plants, rumen and animals, and we will back this with expert science and technology. This represents the future and the best thing about it is that it is 100 per cent owned by New Zealanders."

The Carr Group bought what was then Winslow Feeds in 2000. Over the years it had developed a number of businesses alongside the foundation business and had changed the name of the original division to Winslow Feed and Nutrition.

As owner of the Winslow Group, in selling a share of its feed and nutrition division, the Carr family now owned a "smaller piece of a bigger pie" in the feed and nutrition industry, he said.

"This is a great opportunity for Winslow, a great opportunity for our staff and we're very excited about it. For our customers, however, it will still be business as usual."

The merger would see the Winslow site grow and with that growth would come new jobs and that would flow on into the community in terms of greater buying power, Mr Carr said.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive, Larry Bilodeau, said Winslow and Seales were a natural fit with Ballance's farmer-owned co-operative, which focused on higher farm production.
"All three companies take a strong science-based approach to product development and on-farm advice, and this gives us great common ground. Better animal nutrition is the greatest single opportunity to boost the productivity of pastoral farming and New Zealand urgently needs to do this," he said.

Seales Winslow's inaugural managing director is Ross Hyland, current MD of Seales Ltd. He said he was looking forward to leading a nationwide firm able to service the needs of farmers across the country.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Summit Quinphos will continue to provide shareholders and customers with specialist farm-gate service through their Technical Service Representatives. Seales Winslow will also continue to maintain a team of specialist feed representatives.

Seales Winslow and is expected to begin operations by June 1.


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