Buhler to build Westeel-branded grain handling gear

The Westeel logo seen on many Prairie grain bins is about to make its way onto augers, grain cleaners and grain vacs in a new partnership with Buhler Industries.

Buhler, the Winnipeg-based maker of Versatile tractors and Farm King ag equipment, on Monday announced a “strategic alliance” with Westeel, a Winnipeg-based manufacturer of steel bins and liquid storage tanks.

In the first phase of their agreement, Westeel will sell Buhler-made, Westeel-branded grain handling equipment through the bin maker’s Canadian distribution chain, creating what Buhler described in its release as “a total grain handling solution.”

The expanded product line will be manufactured “to the exacting standards and quality associated with the Westeel brand,” Westeel said.

Further details about the two companies’ agreement and its “subsequent phases” will be announced at a later date, the companies said Monday.

“The potential of this alliance is huge,” Buhler president Dmitry Lyubimov said in a release. “This agreement will be mutually beneficial for both companies, our shareholders and employees, but also for the farmers that we serve around the world.”

“This alliance will allow both companies to grow their respective brands and markets in new and exciting ways,” Westeel general manager Andre Granger said in a separate release.

“Cross-selling”

Colin Osborne, CEO for Westeel’s owner, Vicwest Income Fund, said the deal “will serve to drive opportunity for both companies as we leverage Westeel’s distribution network and reputation as a leader in on-farm and commercial storage solutions.”

Oakville, Ont.-based Vicwest said in a separate release Tuesday its current growth strategy involves “expanding complementary distributed product lines in order to generate cross-selling opportunities within its customer base.”

The fund’s strategy also involves “increasing international business development in the agricultural sector,” as well a combination of its own in-house product developments and acquisitions of other businesses.

Westeel makes grain bins at Winnipeg and Saskatoon and petroleum storage tanks at Olds, Alta., Tisdale, Sask. and Regina, and runs distribution centres at St-Simon-de-Bagot, Que., Fargo, N.D., Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

Buhler, majority-owned by Russian farm equipment maker Rostselmash, runs seven manufacturing plants and nine distribution centres in Canada and the U.S., including plants at Winnipeg and Morden, Man.

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