Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


Agribusiness
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A quick look at some of what's happening around the traps in agribusiness.

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Bound for California

Co-founder of Victoria’s big Boundary Bend olive farming and oil processing business, Paul Riordan, will move to California as executive director of the company’s expanding US business.

Boundary Bend, the company behind Australia’s two top-selling homegrown olive oil brands, Cobram Estate and Red Island, has had a mill and bottling facility in Woodland, California, since 2014.

It plans to establish in other areas of the state as production increases to match US consumers’ increasing preference for higher quality extra virgin olive oils.

Boundary Bend also owns 1500 hectares of land well suited to olive development in Argentina’s San Juan province.

Mr Riordan also leaves his job as a non-executive director of Select Harvests next month, having served on the almond company’s board since 2012, including as horticulture committee chairman.

Company chairman, Michael Iwaniw, said his leadership, knowledge of horticultural practices, risk management and valuation of agricultural businesses provided invaluable input to the organisation during a period of significant growth in Select’s orchard portfolio.

Webster boardroom moves

A boardroom shuffle at broadacre cropping livestock and nut producer, Webster, has seen chief executive officer, Maurice Felizzi, take up a director’s role, alongside another new board appointment.

Mr Felizzi, who became CEO in December, originally joined Webster as the chief financial officer and company secretary in April 2016.

David Fitzsimons, who has 30 years investment and finance experience, replaces Chris Langdon, who retired last month after four years with the company, during which he chaired the board audit committee.

Mr Fitzsimons has previously been a director of retail and media companies in the UK and Australia.

US super-dealer in Germany

North America’s giant Case IH dealer group, Titan Machinery, has branched out further, buying four Case IH agriculture dealer businesses in Germany.

The Agram network in Burkau, Altranft, Rollwitz and Gutzkow recorded about $40 million in sales last year.

The acquisition by Titan, follows similar expansion moves by the farm equipment company into Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Ukraine.

The Nasdaq-listed North Dakota company founded in Fargo in 1980 and now has more than 120 US and international dealerships and 2500 staff.  

Chairman, David Meyer, said Titan was keen to expand into the large, stable and well-established German market.

He said Agram serviced large-area farms in regions bordering Poland and the Czech Republic, similar to progressive operations the company already dealt with in the Balkans and Ukraine.

Williams treads new path

Prominent agribusiness corporate advisor, David Williams, from Melbourne-based Kidder Williams, has added to his own diverse investment portfolio, buying a controlling interest in the Mobile Tyre Shop, which operates vans in Victoria and NSW and Queensland.

Mr Williams, whose firm provides corporate advisory and investment banking services to private and listed mid-market companies for public floats, acquisitions and capital raisings, has been a key player behind Bega Cheese, Select Harvests, Tassal and more.

He is also a significant shareholder in, and chairs, medical equipment company, Medical Developments International.

In his spare time he has been spruiking Mobile Tyre Shop’s quick and convenient tyre replacements and balancing “at your home or office at a cheaper price than you’ll pay a usual tyre fitter”.

In March Mr Williams offered $25,000 for a 20 kilogram block of cheddar at a charity auction conducted by Bega Cheese to raise funds for the victims of the Tathra bushfire on the NSW South Coast.

His bid was beaten by another from the Kidder Williams team when Tim Faulker raised the stakes to $40,000.

Fighting food sector waste

Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) has appointed Genevieve Bateman as general manager of food sustainability, a newly created position to support the implementation of Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy.

She will lead the strategy, working with industry, business and government across the supply chain to find solutions to the food waste problem which costs Australia economy $20 billion a year.

The federal government recently increased funding for food waste with a further $30 million in funding for the Fight Food Waste Co-operative Research Council to empower industry and individuals to help tackle food insecurity and enhance Australia’s sustainable production of premium food products.

Meanwhile, FIAL is seeking out innovative projects which encourage collaboration between businesses in the food and agribusiness sector, to lift productivity and competitiveness.

It will match funding of over $100,000 and up to $1m to help any innovation challenge.

The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.

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