Salford buys tillage equipment maker AerWay

Southwestern Ontario vertical tillage and pasture equipment maker AerWay has become part of another well-known Ontario ag equipment manufacturer.

Salford Group announced in December it has bought the AerWay advanced aeration products line from the Canadian trailer systems arm of German truck, bus and trailer axle and suspension manufacturer SAF-Holland.

AerWay, which operates a manufacturing plant with 38 staff at Norwich, Ont., about 35 km west of Brantford, makes vertical tillage equipment, tillage attachments, manure applicators, chain harrows, top-dress overseeding equipment and hay, pasture, orchard and vineyard aeration tools.

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Neither Salford nor SAF-Holland were releasing terms of the deal, though SAF-Holland in a release reported the purchase price was “said to be in the low-single-digit million” euro range (one euro=C$1.55).

AerWay came to SAF-Holland from the 2007 merger of Germany’s SAF and U.S.-based Holland Hitch, which had sold Aerway equipment since 1983. SAF-Holland said the AerWay line has been a “peripheral activity” for the parent firm since the merger, making “only a minor contribution” in the mid-single-digit millions of euros in sales.

“Both (Salford and AerWay) focus on innovative designs to meet customer needs, create tools with multi-use capabilities and emphasize soil productivity and management, with vertical tillage/minimal disturbance tools and top-dressing or cover cropping being an important part of that,” Salford Group CEO Geof Gray said in a separate release.

Salford, Ont.-based Salford and AerWay have “worked well together in the past,” the two companies said, as AerWay tools already use Salford harrow packages and AerWay is capable of carrying Salford Valmar attachments.

With AerWay now in the Salford camp, “continued investment in the AerWay design and manufacturing will be assured, allowing the product to grow and help farmers and ranchers solve their unique problems,” SAF-Holland Canada president Kim Baechler said in the same release.

Salford and AerWay’s plants are also geographically close, but AerWay will continue to operate at Norwich, Salford said, though they plan to have shared distribution centres “to ensure the widest availability of all products globally.”

Buying AerWay marks the third acquisition in two years for Salford, which bought Elie, Man.-based seeding equipment maker Valmar Airflo last May and Iowa-based BBI Spreaders in October 2014. — AGCanada.com Network

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