Agribusiness

‘Unrealistic’ timeframe set for sale of Qld Govt’s beef genetics business

Jon Condon, 09/05/2013

 

Brittany Pearce and husband, Stephen are part of a syndicate interested in securing BBS A Queensland seedstock producer group considering mounting a bid for the State Government’s Beef Breeding Services genetics and artificial breeding business says the time-frame set for lodgement of expressions of interest as ‘rushed, and unrealistic.’

The group fears that BBS might fall into hands that have no intention of trading-on with the business in its current form, and as a result, removing an important genetics service provider from the Queensland market.

The Queensland Government advertised the BBS business as being for sale, by expressions of interest, on April 28. The original closure date for lodgements was May 21 – just three weeks after first ads appeared.

Brittany Pearce, who with husband Stephen and family operates Telpara Hills Brangus Stud on the Atherton Tablelands, is a member of a seedstock producer group interested in securing the BBS business.

“As soon as we saw the advertisement we registered our interest, but we did not even receive financials in the post until Friday last week,” Ms Pearce said.

While the original lodgement deadline has since been extended to the end of May, it was still a “very limited amount of time to put together a bidding consortium, do due diligence and prepare a bid – especially for a government-owned asset,” she said.

The Telpara Hills group is concerned about the future of the BBS service, and sees a cooperative ownership structure as a suitable model under which to run the business.

“We see it as a long-term investment, for the overall good of the Queensland beef industry, to provide a continuation of the current services, and ensure that prices don’t skyrocket,” Mr Pearce said.  

Other seedstock producers concerned about BBS’s future were encouraged to contact the Telpara Hills group of potential investors.

“Many producers are still not well informed about the BBS sale process, and the implications.”

 “The selection criteria set up for the process suggests it will focus on a) the size of the bid, and b) the commitment to maintaining the service as is currently provided. We thing they should be putting more emphasis on the second aspect, as the first,” Ms Pearce said.

“We’d hope the Government would take the broader industry interest into account with this sale process. Seeing a buyer secure the business, and then closing it is what we’re afraid of seeing happen. All we want is sufficient time to ensure that we can appropriately scrutinise the financials, put a strategy in place, and make well-informed decisions.”

The recent sale advertisement describes BBS as Australia’s largest tropical beef genetics artificial breeding organisation, servicing both domestic and international customers. BBS operates a number of laboratories, and collection and distribution centres in Rockhampton, Etna Creek and Wacol, outside Brisbane.

The business processes more than 350,000 straws of semen annually, as well as providing a private semen and embryo storage service. Its semen catalogue covers some 40 beef breeds.

Additionally, the Wacol distribution centre prepares health certificates, export permits and provides liaison with AQIS quarantine personnel.

The business claims a database of 740 active clients. Gross income for 2012-13 is projected at more than $1 million, and an ‘indicative’ price of $500,000 was published in recent sale advertisements.

“We’re concerned that if BBS falls into the wrong hands, there are no assurances that the current level of service will continue to be provided,” Ms Pearce said.

“There are some key employees within BBS who do a fantastic job, and it is absolutely important that they be retained, to keep the business functioning as it should.”

“From our own viewpoint, being both and exporter and importer of embryos and semen, BBS does a great job of knowing and understanding the protocols and what’s involved. It’s important that that expertise is not lost,” she said.

Another important consideration was that BBS was not aligned with any other genetics company, and was ‘truly independent.’

“There’s no doubt that there are areas where the business can be improved – the semen collection side of the business has gone downhill in recent years. Making leading vets redundant and not replacing them with similar competencies didn’t help, but that’s not impossible to turn around,” Ms Pearce said.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Percy Hornery, 14/10/2014

    I would like to discuss collection of embryos from our donors cows at your centre ?
    I live at Comet via Emerald
    Regards Percy

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