The companies announced the completion of the merger and the establishment of the combined entity, Savage Enterprises, last week. Savage Companies will retain offices in Salt Lake City, while Bartlett and Company will continue to work from Kansas City, Missouri.
Additionally, James Hebenstreit, Bartlett chairman, is set to join the Board of Managers for Savage Enterprises as vice chairman. Bill Fellows, president and CEO with Bartlett will continue to work with the grain and milling company and serve on the board of the new entity.
The combination plan had been in progress for several months, said Jeff Hymas, communications director with Savage. “Our leadership team at Savage has gotten to know them and gained a lot of respect for them and for the type of business that Bartlett has … and we felt for a long time that there was quite a bit of alignment between the two companies,” he added.
“Why the merger was able to happen now – there were a number of factors [and] some of those include that Savage has grown quite a bit in the last few years,” he told FeedNavigator. “With the type of growth we’ve had it made Savage a more attractive partner to Bartlett.”
One element of that growth has included an expansion into logistics and transportation in Mexico, a location where Bartlett already had a presence, he added.
As there is established market recognition, both companies will continue to serve customers using their current brand names, he said. However, efforts for both moving forward are set to be focused around the three main themes of food production, including work with feed, energy development and environmental efforts.
“While the majority of the work we do in agriculture is Bartlett’s work in the grain and milling industries, Savage has provided services in the food and agricultural space,” he said. Savage operates about 40 terminals in North America and has worked with trans-loading and transporting several kinds of agricultural products.
Currently, the two companies have about 280 locations in the US, Mexico, Canada and Saudi Arabia, according to Savage.
Market expansion, diversification
The arrangement is expected to help both companies diversify their businesses and expand market reach, said Hymas.
“There was interest on our part in being able to leverage our combined networks [and] relationship to combine capabilities to diversify our businesses and be able to grow in both new and existing geographic markets,” he said.
There are two key benefits for both companies coming from the merger – diversification and the opportunity for growth, he said.
“Together Savage and Bartlett will be more diverse in geography, our customers and our services,” he said. “By leveraging our combined capabilities and networks we see significant opportunities to grow into new and existing markets both domestically and internationally.”
The move is expected to bring both an increase in the amount of business that Savage and Bartlett are already doing in several areas as well as allowing for expansion into new regions, including parts of Asia and the Middle East, said Hymas. “We’re very active in pursuing new business opportunities in new geographic markets,” he added.
Savage currently is in the process of developing new terminals for marine and rail transport in Mexico, he said. It also recently opened a new rail terminal in St. Louis.
“Looking at where Bartlett currently has facilities and looking at where we have facilities and operations we’ll be able to identify growth synergies and expand our businesses in a number of ways,” he said.
Although there has been some volatility in the feed ingredient and grain markets, there also continues to be demand, said Hymas. “We see high demand for the products and services that Bartlett provides in the US and Mexico – regardless of the trade discussions that are going on right now,” he added.
Additionally, as populations continue to expand there will continue to be a need for grain products and livestock feed, he said. “Bartlett is one of the companies helping to meet that need,” he added.