Batco Manufacturing will be relocating into the current Urban Forest Recyclers Inc. facility in order to more than triple Batco's current manufacturing space, Ag Growth International Inc. highlighted in a major announcement earlier this afternoon.
Ag. Growth International announced an agreement to acquire the 114,000 square foot UFR facility, an acquisition substantially expanding Batco Manufacturing from their current 33,500 square foot facility on Swift Current's North Service Road.
"We had just outgrown all of the facilities that we had here. We've expanded a number of times over the years in the current facility, and it just got to the point where there wasn't sufficient room, nor the types of buildings that we needed to house the modern day manufacturing and powder coat line. So now, with our product growing the way it is, and us seeing the potential for a lot more growth," Batco Manufacturing General Manager Doug Weinbender said in an interview with The Booster.
"One of the things we're really excited about is today we manufacture in about 33,000 square feet. We're going to go to a facility that's 114,000 square feet, so it allows us to set up some lean processes, different flows of our manufacturing thats going to give us a lot more efficiency.
"It's going to promote an expanding business. I think it's going to be a lot more visible to people as well with the new type of facility that we're going to have there."
Weinbender noted they will take possession of the UFR facility on April 1, and their first priority will be to bring in new powder coat equipment for the Batco line.
"Our power coat line at the present time is liquid, and there's a number of benefits for us going to a power coat line. So this facility just augments the possibility of us doing that, and it's certainly going to serve us well for the future."
After getting their powder coat equipment on line by late summer, they will then begin to move their fabricating equipment, welding areas and assembly areas, with their new location expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013. As the facility move will occur in stages, there will be no interruption in Batco sales.
Batco Manufacturing is the largest belt conveyer manufacturer for grain handling products in North America, boasting twice the market share of their next largest competitor. AGI also has a large presence in Eastern Europe, allowing Batco to expand their product line presence overseas with some well received reaction.
"We've just come through a record year. This facility in Swift Current, which was the founding facility for AGI, the founding division, was of course built with Art Stenson and Rob Stenson, later to be joined by Gary Anderson our CEO, and they just over the years built it into a very profitable business," Weinbender said.
Batco was started in 1992 and has grown to employ a staff of over 70 employees.
“We believe that there is opportunity for significant growth in the farm and custom conveying market for seed, fertilizer and grain handling. The investment in a larger facility will enable AGI to capitalize on the growth potential with current products and increase our capability to bring innovative belt conveying technology to the market,” AGI President and CEO Gary Anderson stated in a press release.
The company press release notes total project costs will be approximately $8.7 million and the acquisition and expansion will be funded from the sale of the current Batco facility and other properties owned by AGI that are not currently in use.
“This is an investment in upgrading our founding company, which has continued to be a major contributor to AGI’s financial success. This investment is in line with AGI’s strategy to have dedicated manufacturing facilities that develop best in class products for our customers,” Anderson added.
Weinbender agreed today's announcement was a great New Year's present for Swift Current.
"I think it's great. It's showing that the company, both Ag Growth as well as Batco, have a lot of confidence in Swift Current and surrounding area. We look forward to building this into even a much more substantial business than what it is today, and providing lots of employment opportunities and some economic benefit to the community as well."