Genetics

Sheep business to expand with $5.8m Genetics Australia deal

Terry Sim, December 2, 2020

Genetics Australia has paid $5.8 million for the Total Livestock Genetics business at Camperdown.

BEEF and dairy genetics cooperative Genetics Australia aims to expand its sheep services after its $5.8 million purchase of the Total Livestock Genetics at Camperdown in south-west Victoria.

Genetics Australia (GA) will take over the TLG trading name from January 4 and GA’s bull management, semen management and semen collection and production services will be transferred to the TLG site in Camperdown, Victoria, by the end of next March.

Two of TLG’s services, equine and live cattle export, will remain with the current owners. TLG partners Shane and Erin Ashworth and Steve and Michelle Williams, will stay on with the business. Other parts of the business will continue to trade as TLG in a new entity, Total Livestock Genetics Victoria, owned by GA.

Genetics Australia chief executive officer Anthony Shelly said the purchase was a good strategic fit and would provide a platform for sustainability and growth.

“It is one of our key strategies, providing capabilities to continue with Australian breeding and Australian semen production while adding products and revenue opportunities and boosting our service capability,” he said.

GA will continue to market products nationally and internationally under its own name while TLG’s portfolio of genetic products will stay within the new Total Livestock Genetics Victoria (TLGV) entity as a separate channel of products.

GA’s main facility at Bacchus Marsh will be sold during the next two years, although the cooperative will retain some office facility in the region.

Mr Shelly said Camperdown was in the heart of dairy, beef and sheep industries in western Victoria while the Bacchus Marsh accredited collection facility was landlocked and the region becoming impacted by urban sprawl.

“We wanted to move to a more rural area and one of the great assets of the TLG business are its properties at Camperdown and Glenormiston, which essentially have unlimited capacity for managing bulls for semen collection.”

The move also gives GA access to key technologies such as IVF and easier access to services like sexed semen.

TLG sheep and goat business to be expanded

Mr Shelly said GA was briefly involved in sheep semen collection and insemination in the late 1980’s.

“But most definitely the sheep aspect of TLG will continue and this is one of the things that we see as one of the positives of TLG, the vastness of its offer, not just bovine, but spreading across to sheep and goats.”

He understood TLG was involved with collection, freezing and export of sheep and goat genetic material, including sexing semen for goats.

The new TLGV owned by GA will employ existing TLG staff; however, a number of GA staff will be offered redundancies or the opportunity to transfer to Camperdown as part of the changes.

“From Bacchus Marsh, there will be 10 positions lost and three to four at Camperdown, but some of the staff are still in the process of considering whether they transfer or don’t.”

 

TLG co-owner Shane Ashworth said the deal would lead to TLG’s continued expansion, more services for customers and potentially new technologies and jobs in the region.

“This is really exciting and a good deal where everyone benefits, including our customers who shouldn’t notice any changes,” he said.

“They will be talking to the same staff who will deliver the same services from the same premises.

“It will increase our business activity which will be great for our staff, customers and for the region which is going to become the hub of semen and embryo collection for Australia.”

Mr Ashworth predicted future increases in staff numbers.

“We’re going to collect more bulls, make more semen and produce more embryos and while there will be efficiencies in the new entity, I expect we will drive volumes to where we need more people to deliver services.”

He added that the additional business volume would help the business to continue to attract new technology.

“We’ve always been a leader in the field of introducing new technology such as sexed semen, mobile embryo laboratories and IVF services, and TLG will continue to operate and flourish and remain known internationally for its ability to produce, export and introduce new technologies.

“We’re very pleased that GA sees the value in what we do and wants to keep the business going that way, which is important for the staff and customers who have supported us over the years.”

Mr Ashworth said the timing was right for the deal.

“The driving force was to create economies of scale and efficiencies and there is no doubt there are benefits in consolidation, which is happening in many industries around the world,” he said.

TLG’s equine and live cattle export services will remain with the Ashworth and Williams families.

Genetics Australia is a co-operative, owned by members who are shareholders. It is Australia’s leading animal breeding supplier, supplying high rated Australian sourced dairy and beef bulls both within Australia and overseas as well as supplying leading bulls and herd improvement equipment from top international suppliers.

Total Livestock Genetics (TLG) was formed in 1989 by Shane and Erin Ashworth in response to the need for an independent and professional semen and embryo collection service. It had expanded its range of complementary services to include storage and despatch, import and export of genetic material, live animal export, as well as complete suite of reproductive services for equine and ovine clients.

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