When a company is acquired, questions arise. For agriculture, perhaps the first is: What does it mean for farmers?
“I think there are a lot of good things that will come out of being part of an organization this size,” says Brad Baker, vice president of sales and marketing, Salford Group. The firm was recently purchases by Linamar Corp., owners of MacDon Industries.
Baker continues: “[Linamar brings] a deeper pool of expertise, and with the guidance of MacDon — which is bigger than Salford — it will make our product better, evolve our technology and bring more value to the market.”
Salford Group had been owned by a private equity firm, but sales conversations had been going on for a couple of years. Linamar has several divisions, including everything from tech for electrification to mobility technology to the industrial division, where Salford will join MacDon.
Baker confirms that the Salford name will go on. The company had been making some acquisitions of its own over the years including BBI spreaders; Valmar Airflo equipment, which got the company into the granular fertilizer application market; and Aerway Ag, a niche player in the tillage market that also provided added manufacturing capacity for Salford Group.
Brand equity isn’t easy to build in agriculture, so keeping the Salford name makes sense, as Linamar did when it acquired MacDon in 2018. “We’re going to continue to focus on what makes us good, and trying to build our future and shore up those areas to make us strong contenders long term,” he says.
A 100-year plan
Linamar is a diversified company, even adding a medical technology division focusing on medical devices and precision medical components. The mobility division includes development of electric power, storage systems and electric drivetrains.
“Auto supply is kind of what underpins their growth as an organization,” Baker says of Linamar. “They have a 100-year strategy in place focused on infrastructure, power, water, the aging population and food and agriculture — which is where we and MacDon come in. They want to grow in that area, and they saw an opportunity with us.”
Baker says he’s gotten questions about the future of the dealer network. “I’ve been asked if we were going to combine our dealer network with MacDon,” he notes. “I don’t see that; our distribution channels work well. We’ll be left to operate according to our strengths. I’m excited to see what they can bring to this organization.”
The acquisition positions Linamar as a leading Canadian-based agriculture equipment short-line original equipment manufacturer in the global market. With agriculture as a key area of focus for the Linamar 2100 strategic road map, the company reports it expects to build its presence in the market in the future. Adds Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar’s executive chair and CEO: “Salford is an outstanding brand in farm tillage and crop nutrition application. Together with our current agriculture division, MacDon, we have a solid foundation from which to execute our agriculture strategy going forward.”
In announcing the finalized deal, Geof Gray, president of Salford Group, notes: “Being part of Linamar’s agriculture group will allow for cross-collaboration, leveraging the best practices and ideas that Linamar, MacDon and Salford have to offer.”