Manufacturing | Partnership leads to new ownership for Langbank, Sask., company
Seed Hawk, a reduced tillage seeding company from Saskatchewan, has been sold to the Swedish farm machinery maker Vaderstad.
Pat Beaujot and Brian Dean have sold their family business to another family, this one 7,000 kilometres away from Seed Hawk’s home base in Langbank, Sask.
“The Starks run a great company and they will bring those European styles of management and (factory) building with them to Saskatchewan,” Beaujot said last week after the sale was announced.
“It will be great for Seed Hawk.”
Christina Stark’s family will assume control of the Saskatchewan equipment company immediately, with Beaujot and Dean remaining with the organization’s product development arm and as members of the board of directors.
Beaujot said there was discussion about an eventual sale to the larger Swedish company when his company began to work with Vaderstad in 2006 to expand international distribution of both brands and fund expansion at Seed Hawk.
“Everyone needs an exit strategy of some sort if you are in business, and this was ours,” Beaujot said about the sale of his company’s 93,000 sq. foot facility.
“It just came about earlier than planned.”
Vaderstad is making a major move into North America with its high speed, precision planter technology. Most of its machines, such as the Tempo planter and vertical tillage tools, are destined for the American corn belt.
Langbank was considered a good place for the Seed Hawk and Vaderstad equipment to be built, both for the prairie and U.S. great plains markets.
“To make a major expansion at Langbank, the Starks wanted to have controlling interest in the company,” Beaujot said.
“Brian and I talked about what it would mean for our employees and the community and decided the kind of investment they would make would be excellent for everybody, so we agreed to sell.”
Seed Hawk has 190 employees.
Beaujot said the Starks are setting up a new business structure that will place Vaderstad and Seed Hawk on separate, sister-type corporate platforms, each reporting to the family’s board of directors and management.
Seed Hawk’s air seeding tools are exported to regions that have semi-arid growing conditions and practice broad acre farming similar to what takes place on the Prairies and Great Plains.
Vaderstad’s products are geared to more European-type regions where tillage and planting takes place in higher moisture conditions, not unlike those of the American Midwest.
Vaderstad joins other European companies, such as Horsch, which are expanding sales and product development in North America.
Seed Hawk will keep its headquarters in Saskatchewan, and the current general manager, Peter Clark, will take over from Beaujot as chief executive officer.
Beaujot said he has observed the way the Starks run their business in the past seven years, and was impressed by what he saw.
“If anything, it will only be an improvement to this family-owned business,” he said.
“It’s another family that takes being in the farm equipment business personally.”