Wednesday, April 24, 2024

LIC drafts itself out of Protrack

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LIC has sold its Protrack automation business to the Allflex Livestock Intelligence unit of multinational MSD Animal Health for $38.1 million, subject to a working capital adjustment. The agreement provides for ongoing cooperation between LIC and Allflex, and between Protrack and MINDA.
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LIC chair Murray King says the divestment was part of the refined strategy to sharpen the co-operative’s focus and play to its strengths in pasture-based dairy genetics and herd management.

“We are pleased that MSD Animal Health has chosen to acquire this technology for their Allflex unit,” King said.

“We are confident this is the best way forward for the technology, for our farmers who have invested in these systems and for the wider co-op shareholder base.

King says MSD Animal Health has a reputation for investing heavily in research and development for animal health and welfare.

“It has extensive scientific and technological capabilities that can take this technology to the next phase and deliver more value to farmers,” he said.

The purchaser had to commit to supporting existing customers and offering secondment to LIC employees in the automation team.

Last year LIC shareholders did not approve of the purchase of a stake in Israeli agritech company Afimilk, which would have had a potential subsequent transaction for the automation business.

The LIC board then agreed to reintegrate automation into LIC, to enable it to become cashflow positive and breakeven.

“We know automation delivers a lot of value on-farm, but despite significant efforts by our people, the automation business itself has seldom been profitable, partly due to the stabilisation of cow numbers in NZ dairy and limited traction in international markets,” he said.

Now LIC has freed up the capital and maintained ongoing access to key data from automation and sensor technology.

For MSD Animal Health, NZ business unit lead Pauline Calvert says LIC automation would fit well with Allflex’s identification, traceability and monitoring products.

In this country MSD had the Allfex unit at Palmerston North, the animal vaccine unit at Upper Hutt and now the LIC automation unit in Hamilton.

Protrack gathers information on the health and milking habits of dairy cows, supporting their management, real-time milk analysis, animal evaluation and reproductive health and wellness.

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