Alltech to buy up Canadian feed firm Masterfeeds

Animal nutrition firm Alltech is set to make itself one of Canada’s top animal food and livestock feed players, with a deal in hand to buy the stake in Masterfeeds it doesn’t already own.

Alltech, a Lexington, Kentucky-based international firm in aggressive acquisition mode, announced Tuesday it will buy all outstanding shares of Masterfeeds, Inc. from Ag Processing Inc. (AGP), for complete ownership of its London, Ont. feed firm Masterfeeds LP.

U.S. ag co-operative AGP and Alltech have been 70/30 owners of Masterfeeds LP since this summer, when Alltech bought Ridley Inc., the Canadian/U.S. parent firm of feed company Feed-Rite since 1994.

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Feed-Rite was merged into Masterfeeds in 2012, in a joint venture between Ridley and Masterfeeds that created Canada’s second-biggest feed company.

Pending the usual regulatory approvals and conditions, the deal announced Tuesday is expected to close by the end of the year and create “one of the country’s largest animal nutrition offerings,” Alltech said.

Alltech, Masterfeeds and EMF Nutrition, another Canadian firm Alltech bought in 2013, between them will employ about 700 people in Canada, operating 25 feed manufacturing and premix facilities, nine retail locations and seven distribution centres across the country.

Masterfeeds, which also has a Western Canada office in Winnipeg, began in 1929 as Master Feeds, the commercial feed division of Toronto Elevators Ltd., which merged into Maple Leaf Mills in 1961.

Masterfeeds today operates 18 feed manufacturing and premix facilities and three retail outlets in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, plus the Cowtown chain of feed and western wear stores.

Masterfeeds’ farm feed offerings “will be strengthened through proprietary Alltech nutrition technology, adding further value to our customers throughout Canada,” Masterfeeds CEO Rob Flack said in a release.

Flack will continue as CEO for Masterfeeds, which will still be headquartered in London, while Alltech’s existing Canadian arm, Alltech Canada, will still be headquartered in Guelph and serve “the entire Canadian feed industry.”

“This is a crucial time in agriculture, and Canadian farmers are facing ever-increasing pressures, including the continued drive to produce more with fewer resources,” Alltech founder Pearse Lyons said in the same release.

“This new opportunity will enable more efficient delivery of superior animal nutrition and tailored feeding programs, supported by robust scientific research.”

Omaha-based AGP, which had owned Masterfeeds in a joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) since 1991, and bought full control in 2001, plans to use the undisclosed proceeds of the deal “to invest in new value-added opportunities that benefit our member-owners,” AGP CEO Keith Spackler said in a separate release.

Apart from Ridley, Alltech’s acquisitions since the beginning of the year have included Norwegian livestock and aquaculture feed firms Produs AS and Produs Aqua AS, British farm environmental assessment firm The E-CO2 Project, and craft breweries in Northern Ireland and the U.K. — AGCanada.com Network

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