The $470 million bid by Landmark’s parent company Nutrein to buy significant competitor Ruralco Holdings caught many operators in the agency business by surprise.
The initial winners are the shareholders who witnessed their shares surge by a whopping 45 per cent and will be cheering the deal across the finish line.
Ruralco management had no hesitation to recommend acceptance the deal to all and sundry. It was not all that long ago that Ruralco was running the ruler over Elders in regards to a deal, so this latest shake-up caught industry experts, commentators and participants by complete surprise.
My time in the agency business in the last century witnessed many takeovers and mergers. Australian Estates, AML&F, Primaries, Mactaggarts, IAMA, Dalgety and many other smaller agency businesses, with the ultimate supremos being Landmark and Elders.
Elders at that time had John Elliott, Henry Jones IXL to Elders IXL, as the boss, who was also the Carlton & United Breweries boss, makers of the famous Fosters brand beer.
With the companies Elliott had a control of, he told all who would listen he was going to “Fosterise the world”.
Fosterisation did not really get off to a glorious start. Elliott was in Brisbane for a management meeting and ended up at Elders' staff social club drinks later in the afternoon. The boss was unable to find a Fosters in the fridge and made a swift exit after voicing some unprintable commentary.
I mean, had the members expected Bazza Mackenzie to make an appearance, one could have made a dash to the Port Office hotel to accommodate the brand ambassador.
Producers will be the real winners in the new agribusiness entity. As I said earlier, before the beer distraction, being an active agent through the earlier mergers and takeovers, I can assure you that agency competition in the livestock marketing space will remain intense. After those earlier mergers, we had to fight for every beast we sold.
There are still numerous independent operators who will ensure that competition remains in the red meat industry from not only agents, but also from the processing and feedlot sectors that have significant numbers of buyers scattered throughout the country.
Charters Towers had their first sale for a number of weeks penning 1500 head in total. Some well finished cows sold to a top of of 148c/kg liveweight with heavy bullocks over 500kg selling to a top price of 250c/kg live.
Store cattle comprised some larger runs of Brahman and crossbred steers from the south of Charters with solid results.
Light Brahman steers sold to a top of 300c while heavier steers close to 400kg liveweight made up to 240c. Lightweight heifers topped at 226c with heavier types in the mid 300kgs selling to 166c. Mickeys found some space reaching 226c.
Let me say that these Charters Towers market prices are very strong when compared to other markets with similar lines of cattle. From here on, weekly sales will continue and let us trust that these solid results will continue.
With the mighty mare Winx closing in on her last two starts this autumn campaign, one should appreciate the class of this animal and what she has done for the sport and capturing the imagination of the entire country. Her next start she will be targeting her 32nd consecutive win and after her 33rd, she will then retire.
The Winx story would be similar no doubt to what the nation experienced in the 1930s with the great Phar Lap.
One legend of the industry who witnessed both Winx and Phar Lap race was the once biggest and most fearless bookmaker across the nation, Bill Waterhouse.
Bill, a sprightly 97, has watched both horses compete. He did rate Phar Lap as the greatest horse he had ever seen and unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar as the fastest.
“I have to acknowledge Winx is, I think, superior to Phar Lap. I think she is the best racehorse I have ever seen."